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Farmers’ unions say said that if the announced budget reprogramming cuts go ahead the agriculture producers will be forced to slaughter their cattle, warning that food might get more expensive.
“We have been filling the state coffers in so many ways now we just want some of that money to be reinvested in our production,” said Mehmed Niksic, head of the cooperative farmer union of Tarcin, near Sarajevo.
Speaking on Wednesday at a press conference in Sarajevo, Niksic said that thousands of farmers are already suffering as consequence of this year’s many natural calamities.
“First we had that heavy snowfall, then heavy rain, followed by hails and now droughts,” Niksic explained, “The fifth thing to hit us are budget cuts, which will take 10 million KM [€5 million] from agriculture.”
He was referring to the plan of the Federation entity government to reprogram the 2012 budget, cutting 10 of the 78 million KM [€39 milion] planned for investments in agriculture, due to the cuts necessary to fulfil the obligations given by the International Monetary Fund.
“Much of that amount has already been spent and now, when some 40 million KM [€20 million] remain, they want to cut 10 million KM [€5 milion],” Niksic said, explaining that money is supposed to be given to those farmers who need subventions and who suffered damage from rain or droughts.
Namik Hadzic, the president of the Cooperative Union of Bosnia and Hercegovina, said that he fears the consequences of the cuts to the agriculture budget.
“If millions are cut from the budget terrible problems will occur: we will have a catastrophe, where many farmers will be forced to slaughter their cattle and food will get more expensive,” he said.
Mirsad Hubanic, head of the Federation entity cooperative unions, also criticised the announced government cuts.
“But we have a paradox here, because they are taking away 10 million KM instead of planning a project of watering systems on production plots,” Hubanic said, “We are disappointed.”
Bosnian farmers said recently that this summer’s drought caused over 70 per cent damage to some produce for some farmers.
Additional problem for them is the unregulated Bosnian market which allows too much export and domestic products are not recognized in the country.
Associations of farmers from both Republika Srpska and the Federation entity want action from the Bosnian authorities to protect the domestic market and start solving many of their other problems.
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