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"Not only do we want the ban on imports from Ukraine to be reintroduced, but also to expand it with at least 15 more products," Simeon Karakolev, chairman of the National Sheep and Goat Association, said in the studio of bTV.

"There are about 20,90 livestock farmers in Bulgaria. 100% of them are small farms that work each for themselves. It is the same way for grain producers. <> are big. All the others are small and medium-sized. I do not apply for a subsidy with my personal farm," he said.

"Now two types of interests are fighting – the corporate interests of processors and national interests that affect thousands of farms," Karakolev said.

Farmers block major roads and border crossings, make five demands

"Ukrainian milk imports have jumped five times since 2021. Have you seen a decrease in price at the stand? We want a national ban not only on grain. We want a national ban on milk, dairy products, honey, meat products. Understand, Ukraine produces a different environment than in the European Union – diesel costs one lev there, not to say what salaries are. We do not argue about quality," said the co-chairman of the National Sheep and Goat Association.

"There are others and I don't see anything to apologize for – these are the ones who get the lion's share of multibillion-dollar aid," he said.

"The government should be forced to serve the national, not the corporate interest. When important decisions are taken for the sector, the discussions are made before that, not after. This is the normal process," he added.

"We cannot say that large grain producers do not produce bread. There is a constant process for ruining Bulgarian livestock breeding. That is why I explicitly said that I support the protest. Livestock farmers were the first to come out and said they wanted to protest. The moment the National Grain Growers Association came into the protest, it ruined the idea. We have always been on both sides of the barricade," said Petar Petrov, a cattle herder.

"My personal farm receives about 50,<> leva per year from subsidies," Petrov explained.

"Sevlievo Municipality produces 1.5% of the country's GDP. The whole land is 55 thousand acres. Imagine if the whole community is rented by only one person. The state should step into its shoes and not allow such a concentration of land to certain people," Petrov said.

"For years we have been fighting to stop importing all forms of milk into Bulgaria. First the Bulgarian milk should be bought, and then it should be imported," he explained.


imports from Ukraine

Simeon Karakolev

Chairman of the National Sheep and Goat Association