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Agri-food chain shares concerns about a lack of nitrogen policy

At the beginning of December, Flemish farmers took action in various places against the lack of a clear nitrogen policy from the Flemish government. The agri-food sector shares that concern, as the impact on agriculture will no doubt permeate the entire agri-food chain (from suppliers to processors).

Where is the promised nitrogen plan?

A clear plan for reducing nitrogen emissions from agriculture and industry by the end of 2021. That was the promise of the Flemish government. To date there is no trace of that plan, let alone of flanking measures and compensation for farmers. In the absence of a nitrogen framework, farmers have no idea how much nitrogen they will be allowed to emit in the future… and can't begin to adapt yet.

On hold for years

Until the standards and the measures to achieve them are known, farmers cannot submit permits to adapt existing stables or build new ones. This 'standstill' comes on top of concerns about the inevitable impact that the stricter nitrogen policy will no doubt have.

Nitrogen framework with far-reaching impact

“When it rains in agriculture, it drips into the rest of the agri-food sector,” the agri-food sector said. The fact that no permits are granted for the construction or renovation of stables is only the first consequence of the lack of the nitrogen framework. It creates a domino effect that will affect the entire food production: employment that will come under pressure throughout the chain, investments that are not compensated by an increase in turnover and climate ambitions that are more difficult to achieve.

Time for action

The impact of the nitrogen framework for both the agricultural sector and the agri-food sector therefore requires rapid implementation of the definitive nitrogen framework and close cooperation between all parties. For this reason, the agri-food sector joins the protest of Flemish farmers.

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