ATHENS – The government should move to reducing the cost of energy for farmers for reasons of viability, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said on Friday during his tour of the Argolid, southern Greece.
He also supported reforms in energy pooling communities that would allow farmers to produce themselves the energy they need to consume, a step that he said has not progressed. In addition, farmers could be provided with liquidity through a development bank dedicated to their sector, with low interest rates and helpful payment plans.
During his contacts with farmers of the NE Peloponnesian region, the main opposition leader told farmers at Agia Triada, one of his stops, that “what is at risk is not production profits but the viability of cultivations themselves and of producers of small and medium-sized holdings,” party sources said. He accused the government of being out of touch with reality and not helping the majority of the Greek people who are finding surviving difficult. “They proved to be managers of the lowest order,” he said.
On their side, farmers said they were caught between the rise in costs of electricity, fuel, fertilizers, and pesticides and the pressure by middlemen, who kept depressing prices continuously. “The situation is dire,” a farmer said, “with reduced production in oranges and a selling price 40% down.” Because of high electricity prices, they ran their frost-preventing wind machines later in the night than usual but the unannounced power interruptions ended up destroying their orange crops.