CHISINAU, April 15. /TASS/. Thousands of Moldovan farmers have launched mass protest acts on Wednesday, demanding increases of state subsidies and compensations from the Moldovan government for the loss of the Russian market. The farmers have been barricading roads with their agricultural machinery, TASS was told by Alexandru Slusari, Chairman of the all-republican UniAgroProtect Association of Agricultural Producers.
He said the farmers would barricade dozens of motorways of national importance until 11.00 a.m. local time. Around 5,000 farmers, who brought approximately 3,000 pieces of agricultural machinery to the motorways, are taking part in the protest act, Slusari said. The protest act was organized by a group of the associations of Moldovan farmers, including the National Association of farmers, the agricultural federation "Agroinform", the Association of fruit producers and exporters " Moldova Fruit".
"Many farms in Moldova are on the verge of bankruptcy, while our appeals to the government were to no avail," Slusari said. The situation in the Moldovan agrarian sector worsened after Russia imposed a ban of fruit imports last year; the collapse of the Moldovan national currency in January 2015 was the last straw.
Last July the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision imposed temporary restrictions on the imports of Moldovan fruit to Russia, citing the quality of Moldovan exports which "do not conform to the standards envisaged by the Russian legislation," it said.
Russian ambassador to Chisinau Farit Mukhametshin said, commenting on the situation, that the Association and Trade Agreement Moldova had signed with the European Union "does not conform to Moldova's agreement on free trade with Russia. But, the Moldovan farmers cannot re-orientate their agricultural exports because their products do not conform to the European quality standards", the Russian ambassador said.