Farmers stand their ground

Hundreds of peach farmers used their tractors to block key junctions on the national road network in the prefectures of Imathia and Pella for the fourth day in a row yesterday, causing traffic disruptions and threatening to intensify their action unless the government satisfies their demands. The producers, who are due to meet with Agricultural Development Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis in Athens today, are demanding compensation for more than 200,000 tons of peaches from their surplus production this year. Unionists yesterday threatened to «increase the spread and duration» of their blockades, cutting off key road junctions throughout the coming week if Hatzigakis does not agree to their demands for state assistance to compensate them for a significant slump in their sales to canning companies. In January, Hatzigakis struggled to appease farmers from northern and western Greece, who brought the country’s roads to a virtual standstill with several weeks of protests over subsidies.