Thursday 25.04.2024 ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ

Corfu farmers demand reduction in production costs

05 Feb 2024 / 15:19

CORFU. There was a protest gathering this morning outside the former prefecture building. Tomorrow, they will attend the nationwide meeting of farmers in Nikaia, Larissa.

Members of the Federation of Corfu Agricultural Associations held a protest gathering on Monday morning outside the former prefecture building. Their primary demands include a reduction in production costs through tax-free diesel and guaranteed prices for products that cover production costs and ensure a livelihood.

This is part of the nationwide protests initiated recently by farmers, seeking substantive solutions to the challenges facing their sector. As highlighted by local members, the decline in income, coupled with increased production costs and the impact of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), has created significant impasses and difficulties for farmers. They warned that if the government does not compensate olive oil producers adequately, rural areas could face economic collapse, and olive cultivation, in conjunction with high production costs and subsidy cuts, may be abandoned on a large scale.

"The general demands are common not only at the national level but also in Europe, as farmers in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France are also rising up," said Spyros Samoilis, a member of the Board of Directors of Lefkimmi Agricultural Association. "These concerns mainly revolve around production costs and tax-free diesel. Shipowners pay €0.50/litre for diesel, while farmers pay €1.60-1.70/litre. Additionally, this year, as farmers prepare to cultivate their fields for next year's harvest, fertilizer prices have skyrocketed."

Meeting with Municipality and Deputy Regional Governor

A delegation from the Federation held a meeting with Deputy Regional Governor Christos Anthis and Deputy Regional Governor for Corfu Alexandros Dimos to address specific local demands regarding the timely scheduling of pesticide spraying and the improvement of rural infrastructure. Despite a productive year overall, the delegation highlighted that last year's delayed pesticide spraying resulted in reduced yields compared to expectations.

"The current year is crucial for our island's farmers, awaiting a harvest with the current olive oil prices. We demand that the new regional authorities take all necessary measures to ensure the proper and comprehensive implementation of the pesticide spraying programme, adequately staffing the relevant services with state responsibility," stated Mr. Samoilis.

On this particular issue, Mr. Dimos said that he has signed the relevant allocation for programme implementation, with farmers emphasising the need for swift procedures to enable the first spraying in June. Regarding rural road issues, the Deputy Regional Governors stated that it falls within the jurisdiction of municipalities. The Federation intends to bring this matter to the attention of the new municipal authorities to facilitate necessary infrastructure projects, allowing farmers better access to their fields for cultivation.


Heading to Larissa

Finally, as Mr. Samoilis stated, the Federation of Corfu Agricultural Associations will actively participate in the nationwide meeting scheduled to take place today in Nikaia, Larissa. During this meeting, farmers will decide on the future and form of their protests. He did not rule out the possibility of intensifying the protests even at the local level.