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Picture: Tapani Launonen

Over 500 tractors will roar in the roads of the capital region on Friday morning as about 3,000 farmers arrive to the Senate Square to demonstrate against bureaucracy, cartels and crooked businessmen.

Many farms are facing a financial crisis; the income levels have dropped drastically. Some are trapped in poverty.

Agricultural holdings are the weakest in decades, and revenue has fallen by an average of more than half, with “last year being the worst in the history of many farms,” Juha Marttila, chair of MTK, the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, who are the main organiser of the protest, stated in a bulletin.

Following the collapse of exports to Russia, the EU’s agricultural policy has changed, and farmers feel that decision-makers at that level lacks the skills or ability to comprehend the position of agriculture. The market has fallen sharply, the total impact estimated at 250-300 million euros. Farm subsidies were cut last year by more than 70 million euros, and payments were suspended.

The farmers are suspecting that the decision-makers are not comprehending their distress. They will personally deliver an appeal to the cabinet and parliamentary groups.

Hopefully the decision-makers are starting to understand . . . because without farmers there will be no food.

The official programme will start at 11:00 at the Senate Square and last until 14:00. Among other various speakers, prime minister Juha Sipilä will talk.

Tony Öhberg