Some farmers in Prague protest against the change in subsidies

Roman Vondrouš

Farmers protesting against the change in the distribution of subsidies in favor of smaller farmers met in Prague on Wednesday. After noon, they went to the Government Office building. Police estimated the number of participants in the demonstration at 2,000 people.

Because of the march, drivers have to expect traffic restrictions in the capital center.

First, the march interrupted traffic on the arterial road in the direction of Prague 4, then on Žitná Street. After 13:00, they arrived in front of the Straka Academy, where the government was meeting.

Farmers in the procession armed themselves with banners with slogans about the end of Czech agriculture, the general strike, or the demand for similar conditions.

Small farmers rejected the protest of the Chamber of Agrarian Affairs. In their opinion, the system has long been set in favor of large companies.

The parade in the morning was preceded by a rally in the large hall of the Lucerna. The gathered farmers were addressed, among other things, by Jan Doležal, president of the Chamber of Agrarian Affairs, who said that productive farmers would find themselves on the verge of survival because of the new subsidy settings.

He also claimed that shifting money to smaller farmers would make medium-sized and larger businesses unable to compete with companies from neighboring countries. There, farmers generally farm smaller areas.

At the meeting, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) said that the government would support livestock production and growers of sensitive commodities, such as potato growers.

Since January, the Chamber and the Agricultural Union have been protesting against changes in the subsidy settings for the period between 2023 and 2027.

They criticize the government’s decision to change the setting of the so-called redistributive payment, which farmers receive for the first 150 hectares of land.

This will be 23 percent of the total direct payments for the following subsidy period, compared to the ten percent initially planned. Small farmers will thus receive more money.