Government ministers visiting Bánov (Nitra Region) to attend a cabinet session on July 8, first visited a nearby field as a symbolic gesture to mark the start of this year's harvest.
A group of local people was waiting for the ministers in front of the local authority building, and greeted them with applause, singing, and the traditional Slav welcome of bread and salt, the TASR newswire reported.
"It's an honour for me that after many years, agriculture is given such an opportunity, with the government expressing its appreciation for the work of farmers. The harvest isn't only the finale of a year of farming work, it's also a symbol of new bread," Agriculture Minister Stanislav Becík said in a speech.
"We view this day as the symbolic beginning of the harvest. We deeply appreciate it that the whole government has come," said Ladislav Moravčík, general director of the Poľnohospodár agricultural enterprise, which is responsible for the harvest in the area. He noted that ministers don't set foot in fields very often, and described the gesture as a way of honouring farmers.
On a more sober note, Moravčík predicted that the harvest in the region will be 15-percent lower than previously expected due to a long period of drought.
Compiled by Michaela Stanková from press reports
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9. Jul 2009 at 14:00