BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Hundreds of farmers demanding higher prices from the government for wheat blocked three main roads near Belgrade Thursday, tying up traffic for about an hour before dispersing, officials said.
No incidents were reported.
'The government cannot play with us anymore,' said Stibe Batulac, whose farm is located just northeast of Belgrade. 'We have suffered enough.'
He said the cost of wheat production is higher than the amount farmers get from the government fixed-price.
The federal government set the price at about 17 cents per kilo. The farmers said it should be raised to at least 26 cents.
Agriculture experts said the government-set price was higher than that at the Chicago Commodities Exchange, where it ranged between $130 to $150 per ton, or 13 to 15 cents per kilo.
An official of the Automobile Association of Serbia said hundreds of farmers stopped traffic for nearly three hours on the main road leading to Belgrade from the Vojvoidina provincial capital of Novi Sad, about 50 miles to the northeast.
'The farmers came with about 30 tractors and other agricultural machines on the road just outside Novi Sad. There were no incidents and they all went back to their villages after 4 p.m.,' the official said.
Farmers also blockaded the main road leading from Belgrade to the western city of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, one of six republics that comprise Yugoslavia.
The blockade, located at Dobanovci, 30 miles west of the national capital, lasted about one hour, the official said. The highway is the main link between Western Europe and Bulgaria and Greece and the protest created a backlog of vehicles more than 10 miles long.
The official said a third blockadewas set up for about 30 minutes about 60 miles southwest of Belgrade, between two towns on a road leading to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina Republic.
The protests were called by the People's Peasants Party of Yugoslavia, farmers' associations of Vojvoidina Province and the Yugoslav Peasants Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina Republic to denounce what they said what an inadequate price at which the federal government buys wheat that cannot be sold to state-owned marketing cooperatives.