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Moldovan farmers warn of new mass protests if no compensations come

October 20, 2015, 8:28 UTC+3 CHISINAU

Compensations due to farmers hit by a Russian embargo of 2014 were equivalent to $2.3 million

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CHISINAU, October 19. /TASS/. Moldovan farmers have warned of new mass protests if the government fails to pay compensations for the loss of the Russian market, pledged last year, the chairman of the republican UniAgroProtect said after a meeting with Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet.

Alexander Slyusar explained that compensations due to farmers hit by a Russian embargo of 2014 were equivalent to $2.3 million.

"Strelet made it clear that this money cannot be taken from the Romanian loan of €150 million, 60 million of which Moldova will receive at the end of November. That is why the premier offered to postpone the payment to the spring of 2016," Slyusar said.

He also expressed anger over the fact that a representative from the Finance Ministry had not turn up at a meeting with the prime minister on Monday, also expressing fears that premier’s pledge to have the subsidies paid off could mean nothing.

On Monday, agrarians planned protests to demand compensations. The prime minister, for his part, invited them to the negotiating table and voiced the government’s plan to settle the problem.

"Arrears on subsidies for the previous year will be paid off no later than on October 30," he said, adding that the payment documents had been sent to the Finance Ministry and the Department of the Treasury.

He said the farmers who failed to sell apple crops last year would get the promised compensation of $2.3 million dollars.

Restrictions were imposed last year in the wake of Chisinau’s signing an agreement to create a free trade zone with the EU.

After the signing of the treaty on the establishment of the free trade zone with the European Union by Chisinau, Russia fearing re-export of European products via Moldova, canceled zero rates of duty for a number of goods from this country, including wine, meat, vegetables, fruits and grain.

On July 18, 2014 Russia’s veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor imposed temporary restrictions on imports of Moldovan fruit citing substandard quality of the products. Apple producers were the hardest hit, as they used to be the second biggest exporters of apples to Russia after Poland. In 2013, they exported to Russia about 180,000 tons of apples.

This year, the situation was further aggravated by dry weather.

Mass protests of farmers, losing the Russian market, began across the republic last year. They demanded from the authorities to revise the agreement with the EU and compensate for the loss of the Russian market.

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