48 bankrupt cow farms in less than a year and a drop in milk processing by as much as 13,000 tons in the last 4 months – this is the situation in dairy farming in our country according to industry representatives.
At a press conference, they demanded the resignation of relevant minister Kiril Vatev on the grounds that his actions are endangering the future of the entire sector.
A protest is being organized on Thursday, which will be supported by the greenhouse producers. They, in turn, have serious concerns that they will not be able to survive a possible colder winter – again due to an inadequate approach on the part of the Ministry of Health.
The main problem is the amount of financial support, which the industry estimates to be substantially lower than in the previous period. Maria Stepancheva from the Association of Buffalo Breeders in Bulgaria also pointed out how the transitional national aid has changed – from BGN 200 for a cow to just over BGN 73, as well as from BGN 337 for a buffalo to under BGN 130.
Currently, the annual income from a cow is BGN 5,000, and the expenses are twice as high – BGN 10,000.
“Since the minister thinks we are making a lot of money, why did his farm go bankrupt? In a market economy, you cannot sell your produce below cost – for the same reason, many of our colleagues closed their farms,” she said.
A month ago, the farmers submitted financial claims to the line ministry
and warned that if they were not implemented, they would protest on election day. After signing a memorandum, this did not happen, but now they claim that none of their demands have been met. “Everything that (Minister Vatev) undertook as a commitment, he did not do,” said Boyko Sinapov from “United Bulgarian Livestock Breeders”.
As an example he gave
the lack of control over imports, emphasizing that dry milk and palm oil enter our country and sausages are made from deep-frozen meats,
“which are prohibited in the EU” and “in normal countries these meats are used only for dog and cat food”/ He added that some of the signatories of the memorandum “had a prior agreement with the government and with Vatev”.
“We believe that this man is disastrous for this industry – as a result of this policy, the destruction starts from the big farms.
This policy will lead to a shortage of dairy products and fruits and vegetables – it will lead to an increase in prices,” said Dimitar Zorov from the National Union of Cattle Breeders in Bulgaria.
According to him, the current situation also leads to the outflow of labor abroad,
and this will subsequently affect budget revenues.
He was adamant that the minister’s argument that support distorts the market is wrong: “In today’s EU, the goal is a balanced price for the product, so that it is affordable. The producer cannot sell below cost.” That is why he asked the rulers to fight in Brussels for greater support – including in the line of compensation due to the entry of Ukrainian production.
Because of the latter, the organizations are asking for an additional 462 million BGN in the 2024 Budget.
Velin Georgiev from the National Association of Greenhouse Growers emphasized that the funds that could help him survive are not visible in his sector either. “90% of the costs of the greenhouses are for fuel. With these two wars, this winter will be even harder. Bulgaria has no agreement with Russia on gas quantities, America has problems with gas – the New Year will come, the stock market will have a price of BGN 3,000 and we will look for a way to fix it. We are looking for the minister to secure the gas, to bring it to Chiren,” he added.
In his words, “Bulgaria is in first place in Europe in terms of new technology – but only in grain production”, while the greenhouse producers work with old Russian and Serbian mechanization.