Draft bill for open-air markets a serious blow to farmers and consumers, Tsipras says

Main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, president of the SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance party, on Monday strongly attacked the government’s bill for open-air farmers’ markets, known in Greece as the ‘laiki agora’ or people’s market, after a meeting with the farmers’ market vendors’ confederation.

According to an announcement, Tsipras said the government was destroying the social role of farmers’ markets and effectively turning them into supermarkets at a time when Greek households were struggling to stay afloat amid a wave of rocketing price hikes.

“This is a very serious blow to both farming and producers, as well as the average household,” he said, noting that farmers’ markets were a way for consumers to have access to high-quality and cheap products.

He noted that the street market bill also concerned many MPs in the ruling party, adding that the bill gave “everything to middlemen and nothing to producers”.

“The issue is for this bill to not be passed and, if it is passed, to not be implemented,” he said, expressing SYRIZA-PA’s support.

The head of the vendors confederation Aggelos Deretzis said the bill would be a death knell for the ‘laiki’ markets and would stop farmers from being able to come to the markets to sell their produce at affordable prices, while also earning some additional income.