Latvian farmers announce protests

Latvian farmers will start protests in regions on February 5, the association “Farmers Saeima” said Wednesday. Industry insiders say that bureaucratic demands and indifference from government representatives pose risks to the agricultural sector.

“The measure of patience of Latvian farmers is full and overflowing. It is regrettable that the composition of the current government is particularly distinguished by its arrogance and indifference,“  said chair of Farmers Saeima Juris Lazdiņš continues.

Claims made by farmers have been submitted to Prime Minister Evika Siliņa (New Unity) and Agriculture Minister Armands Krauze (Union of Greens and Farmers) on Wednesday, January 31.

The letter informs the government that farmers' protests will begin in all regions of Latvia on February 5. Since the claims were filed, farmers will expect real solutions from government representatives within 5 days.

Regional protests of farmers are planned in Saldus, Talsi, Liepāja, Jelgava, Dobele, Bauska, Valmiera, Gulbene, Limbaži, Daugavpils, Rēzekne and Koknese.

Farmers' demands with focus on the following issues critical to the sector:

1) an immediate ban on imports of foodstuffs from Russia and Belarus without a transitional period;

2) restoration of the 5% reduced VAT rate for fruits and berries grown in Latvia; promotion of competitiveness of the sector;

3) reduction of bureaucracy in the agricultural sector;

4) a broader approach to insurance and working capital programs;

5) waiver of land encumbrances or other restrictions on land use at the national level.

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