Dairy farmers in the central Pardubice region say they will step up their protests against low milk prices in the new year. Protest organisers say they will target supermarket chains as part of a widened campaign. This week they blocked a series of dairy producers who they also blame for their current plight. Farmers say current prices for milk do not cover costs and they are being forced to kill cows as a result.
Czech farmers blocked two milk processing plants in eastern Bohemia and central Moravia on Thursday in protest against low milk prices they are being paid. The protest lasted for about two hours. Farmers demand that milk prices are levelled up to those in neighbouring countries, that is to 30 eurocents per litre. The head of the Czech Agrarian Chamber, Jan Veleba said that the situation was unsustainable in the long run.
The Czech Republic has had a small hemp industry for ten years now, since a new law acknowledged hemp as a technical and energy crop in 1999. Since then, technical hemp, that is cannabis which contains less than 0.3 percent THC, has made its way into a broad range of Czech-made products. It is used for making cosmetic products, briquettes, fabric, food and even hemp plastic.
On Wednesday, over 3500 farmers gathered in Prague for a demonstration. The farmers marched from Prague’s Hradčanské námestí to the parliament, where the annual budget negotiations are in progress. There, the farmers burst through a barricade the police had built and voiced their demands through a megaphone. The demonstrators then handed over their declaration to Bohuslav Sobotka, the head of the parliament’s budget committee. In the declaration, farmers are demanding an increase of the budget for agriculture by 1.5 billion crowns. The vice-president of the Agrarian Chamber, Jindřich Šnejdrla, said that incomes of Czech farmers would sink to the lowest level in history next year and that in addition, prices of agricultural products were sinking because of the financial crisis, putting farmers in a precarious position.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority announced Friday that the brewery Radegast had passed its inspection and is now entitled to call itself a “Czech Beer,” a name that is protected and requires a certain standard of quality. Other brands that are allowed to call their brews a “Czech Beer” are Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus and Velkopopovický Kozel. The European Union introduced protected designations of origin for agricultural and food products in 1993 to help consumers discern quality products more easily. In the Czech Republic, the protected status of beer has added to the regard and success of the product abroad, says Jiříi Mareček, spokesman of the brewers’ association Prazdroj Pilsen.
One of the better-known saints of the Catholic church, St. Martin is honored on November 11th in the Czech Republic with the Feast of St. Martin, a meal of duck, dumplings and red cabbage. The feast is accompanied with St. Martin’s wine, a popular wine that arrives at wine stores today. Sarah Borufka went along to one of the wine tasting events in Prague.
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