Desperate Farmer Cuts Down Peach Trees in Protest

By 15 June 2017

He claims that the “green mafia” is destroying small agricultural producers.

“There is no reason to wait...” wrote Croatian farmer Toni Kalajžić from the Vrgorac area on his Facebook page and started cutting down peach trees he has been cultivating. The price offered for this fruit (and not just for this) by the importing lobby is too low, and therefore Kalajžić decided to make this desperate move, reports N1 on June 16, 2017.

It is well-known that the importing lobby is forcing farmers to sell their products for next to nothing. It is somewhat easier for people cultivating one-year crops, but for farmers growing crops which take years for the first significant quantities to be produced, the situation is unbearable.

“I was born in 1980, and I live in Dusina. I have three children, and I do not work anywhere else but just on my farm. And I cannot earn enough to make a living,” says Kalajžić.

“I went to Split on Friday, to the green market. From 14:00 on Friday afternoon until Saturday morning, I sold only 7 cases. I have lost fruit worth at least 1,000 euros. Why? The fridges are full of imported peaches. The green mafia dictates the rules of the game. Retail chains offer four kunas for our peaches and then sell them to you for three times more. I do not think I can correct all the wrongs, and I do not need any subsidies. I just want our products to have a decent price,” says this farmer who, in addition to peaches, cultivates grapes, nectarines, apples, and plums.

“I do not expect that someone will buy peaches for 9, 10, or 11 kunas, but they should create an order in the market. We should limit the amount of fruit coming from other countries, whose quality cannot be compared with our products,” says Kalajžić, who after 20 years of work on his family farm is now thinking about “leaving everything and going to Germany.”

“This is the harsh reality of our farmers who cannot fight with the green mafia. They are so outraged that they are willing to cut down healthy peach trees. With such a strong import lobby, there is challenging future ahead for all of us. And the government is saving the Agrokor Group, while at the same time our farmers are suffering,” says Mayor of Vrgorac Ante Pranić.

The video can be seen here.