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Thousands of farmers protest-tractors block roads

  • 2009-01-28
  • TBT Staff

RIGA-Nearly 4,000 farmers with over 2,000 tractors held a protest in Latvian 30 cities todemand government aid for agriculture.

Among their demands, farmers asked for EU direct payments from the variousloans to Latvia be paid before March 31st. The farmers asked thatthe government approve these measures in a weeks time. They also asked for 2.5percent of the national budget be spent on agricultural aid.

In 2008, farmers held smaller protests contesting the low prices dairyfarmers are paid for milk.

Prime Minister Godmanis has said that the settlements more than a weekstime. More protests are expected after one week. As with the first protest,tractors and farm machinery blocked roads and caused distractions.

Godmanis said that the government may approve underwriting farmer's loans,as the average farm debt is 100,000 lats.

The money for the loans may be taken from the EU funds, which would not beavailable until March.