Farmers protest in Serbia: ‘Most fertile land is given to Arabs’

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Farmers from Kula, Serbia block the center of the municipality with their tractors, demanding an explanation of what is behind the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture to lease 3,000 hectares of the best arable land to the UAE company Al Rawafed under the most favorable conditions.
inSerbia | 28 July 2014

Farmers protest in Serbia: ‘Most fertile land is given to Arabs’

Farmers from villages and settlements of Sivac, Kruscic, Lipar and Crvenka in Vojvodina are outraged at the Ministry of Agriculture of Serbia, which leased more than 3,000 hectares of the best arable land to the company “Al Rafaved” from the United Arab Emirates for 250 euros per hectare.

They demand that Ministry explain why this fertile land has been exempted from the lease program based on the preferential rent, or why the state has not offered the land to them first, and then the Arabs. Farmers from Kula, at the protest rally in front of the local municipality building, said that it is inconceivable that Serbia leases the land to “Al Rafaved” for only 250 euros per hectare, without public bidding.

“It is inconceivable that the most fertile land is given to Arabs at almost twice lower than the actual price and without public bidding, for a period of 30 years, while domestic tenants could have leased it only for 3 years and for 400 euros per hectare. Under such favorable conditions farmers in Kula were willing to invest in irrigation and mechanization, as “Al Rafaved” promised,” sad the representative of the farmers of the municipality of Kula, Radomir Bozovic.

Former Minister of Economy, Sasa Radulovic, who attented the protest rally, believes that the deal with the Arabs is contrary to the Law on Privatization, as well as the Constitution. The protest rally was attended by the Secretaries of the Government of Vojvodina, Miroslav Vasin and Branislav Bugarski, who asked the Government of Serbia to overturn the onerous contract with “Al Rafaved”.

Farmers from Kula have last month blocked the center of the municipality with their tractors, demanding an explanation of what is behind the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture to lease 3,000 hectares of the best arable land to UAE company under the most favorable conditions.

Original source: inSerbia
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