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European farmers stage new protests over heavy EU regulations, cheap imports

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ROME/WARSAW, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — Farmers in Italy, Poland, Spain and Bulgaria have staged new protests this week against excessively restrictive European Union regulations and cheap imports from non-EU countries.

In Italy on Friday, a convoy of tractors drove past the historical center of Rome, bearing national flags and slogans such as “Without farmers: no food, no future” and “End payment for not growing crops.”

“We have our priorities and we have followed the rules, and now we expect our priorities to be taken seriously by the authorities,” Salvatore Fais, leader of Agricultural Redemption, the organizer of the protest, told Xinhua.

Hours later, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni met with farmer representatives and announced that personal income tax exemptions would be extended to those with an annual income of up to 10,000 euros (10,800 U.S. dollars).

In Poland, farmers also took to the streets on Friday, blocking off roads and the border crossings with Ukraine, in protest against EU farming policies and cheap imports from Ukraine.

The demonstration is planned to last for 30 days. Poland’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Czeslaw Siekierski said he would support the implementation of a “complete” import ban on product categories if necessary.

He mentioned sugar and poultry as potential targets due to concerns about the excessive influx of such products from Ukraine.

Friday is the fourth day of protests by Spanish farmers, who have been blocking several streets, highways and ports across the country and announced plans to gather in Madrid. A convoy of tractors bearing Spanish flags disrupted the traffic on the A-2 highway to Madrid near the central town of Torija during the daytime.

Spanish media reported that the farmers railed against the EU’s environmental rules and what they called as excessive taxes and red tape.

On Thursday morning, Bulgarian farmers’ protests blocked the outbound traffic at the Giurgiu Border Crossing Point on the Romania side. The blockade lasted approximately four hours, according to the Giurgiu Border Police Territorial Inspectorate.

According to Bulgaria media, the nationwide demonstrations by farmers and agricultural workers in Bulgaria started on Tuesday and stemmed from concerns over cheap imports from Ukraine.

Farmers have staged demonstrations across Europe in recent weeks to protest against low produce prices, rising costs, cheap imports and constraints linked to the EU’s policies against climate change. They are demanding action by the authorities.

The European Commission has made some concessions over the last few weeks, including withdrawing plans to halve the use of pesticides and other dangerous substances. Nonetheless, the protests have continued.

Source(s): Xinhua

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SDFC expands funding assistance for reef fishers, related SMEs

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The SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) has added new categories to the ‘Kandufalhuge Nafaa’ loan facility; specifically “targeted toward supporting the growth and development of reef fisheries”.

SDFC will issue up to a maximum of MVR 700,000 in funding towards the development of reef fisheries; by way of financing either local fishers or small-to-medium (SMEs) enterprises operating in reef fishing activities.

The loan facility is subject to an interest rate of 5% with a six-month grace period, and a 10-year repayment period.

SDFC further highlights that all the vessels financed under the loan would be held as collateral or mortgage.

Expenses exceeding the maximum MVR 700,000 ceiling of the loan facility should be incurred by the debtor, added SDFC.

The facility is specifically targeted for reef fishers, suppliers of reef fish; either processed, packed or frozen to be sold at industrial capacity, exporters, and local suppliers from the atolls.

SDFC further highlighted that the facility is aimed at boosting specific activities of any individual or SME operating in reef fisheries sector, and they include;

  • To develop a new vessel or repair existing vessel used in reef fisheries activities
  • Installation of engines in vessels used for reef fishing
  • Procurement/purchase of equipment used in navigating or commandeering the vessel
  • For repairs and modifications of a vessel used in reef fishing
  • Procurement/purchase of fish processing machinery and equipment
  • Procurement/purchase of packing materials and equipment

Source(s): sun.mv

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Maldivian lowers surfboard transport fees as pledged by President

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Island Aviation Services Limited (IASL) has announced the fee reduction for transporting surfboards via the national airline, Maldivian, as pledged by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

As such, the national airline has announced reduced fees for surfboard transportation. Charges for larger surfboards were decreased by 33%, while smaller ones saw a reduction of 66%, marking a tangible step towards supporting local businesses and promoting tourism.

President Dr. Muizzu responded to concerns raised by Surfing Operator Ahmed Rasheed from Gadhdhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, during the “Raees ge Javaab” series, where citizens directly engage with the President on various issues.

During the session, Rasheed highlighted the steep fees imposed by the national airline for transporting surfboards, stressing the impact on local businesses in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. Acknowledging the significance of the issue, Dr. Muizzu committed to reducing the fees, recognising their adverse effects on surf-related enterprises and the tourism sector. Stressing surfing’s vital role in the Maldives’ economy, particularly in Gadhdhoo, the President swiftly acted to fulfill his pledge.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Govt launches ‘Addu Asseyri Tourism Development Plan’

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The Tourism Ministry has launched the ‘Addu Asseyri Tourism Development Plan’, an initiative under the administration’s ‘Hafuthaa 14’ roadmap.

The project was launched in a ceremony attended by Tourism Minister Ibrahim Faisal and Addu City Mayor Ali Nizar in a ceremony held at the Addu City Council on Thursday.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the ‘Addu Asseyri Tourism Development Plan’ is in line with the administration’s ambitious first 100-day pledge to formulate and introduce a specialized tourism project for Addu City.

Developed by CDC Consulting, the comprehensive five-year destination development strategy is accompanied by a detailed situational analysis report.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the plan is strategically crafted to not only enhance tourism in the region, but also to make a substantial contribution to the local economy of Addu, reflecting President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s commitment to transformative initiatives.

The plan also encompasses key presidential pledges to Addu city, including the establishment of 6,000 tourist beds, the creation of 10,000 jobs, the revitalization of Shangri-La operations, and the establishment of a seaplane hub within the first year of the presidency.

Tourism Ministry says the initiatives will transform Addu City into a thriving tourism hub, offering unparalleled opportunities for growth and prosperity.

The plan also outlines a range of developments, such as the creation of cultural village, wellness zones, marine protected areas, and hospitality school.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the initiatives not only aim to attract visitors, but also to showcase the rich heritage and natural beauty of Addu City, providing a unique and immersive experience for tourists and locals alike.

Source(s): sun.mv

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