Dutch Farmers Very Angry
A coalition of six major nature and environmental organizations wants to transfer 110 million euro, meant as income support for farmers, to a fund for the development of rural areas. Farmers organizations are very against this proposal.
At a conference in Utrecht held on Monday afternoon, Natuurmonumenten, Vogelbescherming Nederland, Landschapsbeheer Nederland, De 12Landschappen, Stichting Natuur en Milieu en Milieudefensie will propose their plan. If they succeed this means 1800 euro less in the wallet of the average farmer.
The Netherlands has about 60,000 farmers and growers. For them, the EU has reserved 735 million euro per year as income support. 15% Of this amount may be used for rural development policies, in the case of the Netherlands that is 110 million euro. This percentage was last week agreed by the European Commission and the European parliament.
The nature and environmental organizations want to spend the 110 million euro on greening projects. This can be a buy out of farmers who work (partly) in nature reserves, investments in cleaner water, less pesticides, better stables which less emissions of dust and ammonia, etc. The proposal is also meant to push State Secretary Sharon Dijksma to come up with a plan. The State Secretary of Economical Affairs, to which nature and agriculture belong, has to give her vision and plans on the new European common agricultural policies, this year to Brussels. She can make her own choices and the organizations want to give her, with this proposal, some ideas.
Farmers very angry
For the farmers this is not the first time they hear of this proposal. The organizations have also discussed the proposal last summer with the provincial governments. The provincial governments will be the one to spend the money on rural development policies and they were in favor of the proposal of the nature and environmental organizations. The exact amount was not yet known at that time but the farmers were furious. Farmers organization LTO Netherlands called the provincial governments ‘asocial’ to even think about the proposal. Chairman Albert Jan Maat said that the provincial governments want to play Santa Claus with their money. Last Thursday, when the numbers from the European Commission were agreed upon by the European parliament, Maat stated that the new angricultural policies already will cost the farmers 100 million. On top of that, he said, the farmers are faced with more greening demands.
According to the nature and environmental organizations, these greening demands are very minimal. That’s in fact the main reason that they want to propose on Monday afternoon the transfer of the 110 million euro. Sijas Akkerman of the foundation Natuur en Milieu says that it is now time for Dijksma to put her green words into action.”The State Secretary always talks about durability and she asks consumers to spend money on green products. Now she can give an example by spending money on those things by herself.”