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Swedish dairy farmers in tractor blockade threat

Dairy farmers in Sweden are threatening to use their tractors to block all dairies in the country if the price of milk does not increase.

Swedish dairy farmers in tractor blockade threat

An agricultural turmoil is bubbling up in Sweden. During the last few months, there have been several reports of dairy farmers being forced to close down their farms due to the low price of milk and rising expenses.

Now, some of the farmers have had enough and are threatening to use their tractors to physically block Swedish diaries if the situation does not improve.

If the blockade becomes a reality, farmers would still milk their cows, but let the milk go to waste.

Stefan Gård, the president of lobbying organization Swedish Dairy Farmers (Svenska Mjölkbönder), explained that, at this point, the group does not back the threat to block the dairies.

“I fully understand why they are doing this. The situation is critical. You can’t leave a pot on the stove for too long before the top blows off,” he told the Local.

One of the enraged farmers is Anders Birgersson from Vikingstad, near Linköping in central Sweden.

“We need to raise the price of milk by 30 öre ($0.04) [per litre] to be able meet the market fair and square,” he told Sveriges Radio (SR).

The group hopes to bring together enough farmers for a demonstration at Jönköping, southern Sweden, to be able to put some weight into their threat to block all Swedish dairies.

On Thursday, Swedish Dairy Farmers plans to have a demonstration of its own in Stockholm.

During the demonstration the organization is going to hand over a document to Minister of Rural Affairs Eskil Erlandsson. The document will show the extent to which current laws and rules affect Swedish dairy farmers.

“At the moment, we are focusing on our own demonstration on Thursday. After that we don’t know what we will do,” Gård told The Local.

“The next step might be to join the blockade.”

Eric Johansson

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FLOOD

Downpour floods roads, blocks off hospital

A heavy rainfall in central southern Sweden on Friday morning flooded a main highway and blocked off access to a local hospital.

Downpour floods roads, blocks off hospital

“There is truly a lot of water, there are several tens of centimetres in some places,” Henrik Dovrén of the Jönköping emergency services told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

The rising water levels blocked off access to the Jönköping Hospital, and emergency cases have had to be forwarded to other hospitals in Eksjö and Värnamo.

It also prevented access to several large stores in the area, including an Ikea and a Biltema, with sewage water gushing up into the stores, reported the local Jönköpings Posten newspaper.

Emergency workers are currently busy pumping water from the affected shopping centres and buildings.

“We have a number of incidents that we are working on simultaneously,” Dovrén told Aftonbladet.

Over 400 households in the area have lost electricity. A local hotel, the Jönköping Hotell, reported that its cellar had flooded.

Meanwhile, the E4 motorway is covered in water and traffic was at a standstill in the later hours of Friday morning.

TT/The Local/og

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