Demir: “Boerenbond bears crushing responsibility for painful situation in which farmers now find themselves” | Inland

Demir: “Boerenbond bears crushing responsibility for painful situation in which farmers now find themselves” | Inland
Demir: “Boerenbond bears crushing responsibility for painful situation in which farmers now find themselves” | Inland

The Boerenbond and its financial participations must take their responsibility and invest the profits in a fund that should help Flemish farmers through the impending difficult transition. That is the conclusion of Flemish Minister for the Environment Zuhal Demir (N-VA) after seeing the Pano report about the Boerenbond. In the one program farmers testified about their reservations about the Boerenbond and the agricultural industry.

Farmers’ union bears a “crushing responsibility” for the painful situation in which farmers find themselves today, according to the minister. “And instead of taking their responsibility, they ask to adjust the nitrogen policy. Just because that fits in with their business model: more money for the Boerenbond holding. And that while our farmers are fighting for a fair price.”

The N-VA minister draws a parallel with the Dutch situation, where a debate is raging in the House of Representatives about making Rabobank financially liable, the Dutch bank that has historically grown together with agriculture. “The Boerenbond holding is also a shareholder of a bank (KBC, ed.)”, notes Demir.

Fund to help farmers

In the report, a few farmers were given the floor who question the role of the Boerenbond, partly because the organization would “always” advise expanding. In the context of the nitrogen crisis and the sectoral turnaround facing farmers, the minister calls on the Boerenbond to “put their profits of the past two years, 800 million euros, into a fund to help our farmers.”

“Now that we are at a turning point with our nitrogen policy and the responsibilities are clear, my question is above all: what does the Boerenbond do in return for the farmer?” The Pano report also strengthens Demir’s conviction that “above all, the decided nitrogen agreement of colleague Crevits and myself must be implemented, without mercy. If we don’t, we’ll be fooling the farmer.”

In the spring, the Flemish government concluded a nitrogen agreement. The many participation responses that were submitted during the summer months are currently being processed. This is followed by further discussion within the Flemish government.

Green supports call

Mieke Schauvliege, Flemish Member of Parliament for Green, believes that the “profitable profits” of the Boerenbond should be invested in nature restoration and in a sustainable future for the agricultural sector. She said this on Thursday, the day after the ‘Pano’ report about the Boerenbond and in response to Demir’s appeal.

Schauvliege therefore supports this call, but she believes that a clear condition should be attached to it. “It is self-evident to us that the Boerenbond, which for years enriched itself by harvesting our farmers, should contribute to nature restoration and the buy-out of farmers who are now forced to close. At the same time, efforts must finally be made to achieve a real turnaround in the agricultural sector. More of the same is no longer an option.”

Schauvliege wants to focus on a “major system change that gives our farmers a future and that takes into account what our nature can handle”. “The fetish that new technologies fully offset large-scale industrialization must be let go. The current crisis shows that this recipe is not working. Technology will always be an ally, but it is not a holy grail.”

Brouns: “Boerenbond gives advice, farmers have to make their own choices”

ALSO WATCH: Minister Demir on nitrogen emissions

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Demir Boerenbond bears crushing responsibility painful situation farmers find Inland

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