About 2,000 farmers gathered in Prague on Wednesday to protest against the Czech government’s new subsidy policy favouring small farmers, which they say will disrupt Czechia’s ability to produce food.
The protest on Wednesday (8 June) was called by the Chamber of Agriculture, the Farmers’ Union, and trade union associations. After a morning meeting, they marched to the seat of the government, waving banners saying “The end of Czech food” and chanting “There will be hunger!”.
The events restricted traffic in the capital, but there were no major disruptions to public order.
The owners of large farms criticize the government’s recent decision to change the so-called redistributive payment, which farmers receive for the first 150 hectares of land.
For the next subsidy period, this payment will cover 23% of direct payments for farmers owning at least that much land – a 10% increase compared to what was originally planned. Small farmers will thus receive more money.
This will leave farmers focused on food production struggling to survive, Jan Doležal, president of the Chamber of Agriculture, said during the event.
Giving smaller farmers more money from the common pot will lead to medium-sized and larger enterprises being unable to compete with companies from neighbouring countries, he added.
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) promised the government would support livestock production and growers of important commodities like potatoes.
The protest was criticised by the country’s Association of Private Farming, representing small farmers, which is in favour of the changes.