Greek Farmers Make It Clear: If We Go Away, You Don’t Eat

T photography /
T photography /

As the spring planting season gets underway in the northern hemisphere, farmers in the European Union have mounted an offensive against their local governments. As the latest to join the fight, farmers in Greece have had enough. After massive floods throughout the country last year, farmers want major changes. With the central-right Greek government only offering substantial electricity cost reductions, officials claim budget problems prevent the rest of their demands from being met.

With the slogan, “Without us, you don’t eat,” adorning banners, many protestors rode in on their tractors. Others carried faux coffins and funeral garlands to symbolize the death of farming in Greece under the new constricting regulations.

Demanding tax-free farm fuel, debt forgiveness, blockades to prevent competing against foreign farmers, and improvements in the turnaround time for natural disaster funding. Yet, their chief complaint is shared extensively across the European Union- the substantial markup on grocery store shelves.

Manolis Liakis, a farmer from the southern island of Crete, cited fuel costs as being one of the most important issues for his farm. Paying as much as three times the rate for fuel as shipping companies puts them at a significant disadvantage and causes a price disparity. “We can´t be producing and (selling) our products for ridiculously low prices while the consumer buys them at extremely high prices.”

Given a substantially lower cost of fuel like a shipping merchant would receive, would provide farmers a better return on their already low prices. If the grocers will also drop the price gouging on local goods they have undertaken as well, consumers can get on an even playing field. This means Greek farmers can stop having to compete with foreign farms that sell goods for pennies on the dollar.