In the Netherlands, farmers are protesting en masse against the government’s plans to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and ammonia. In addition, livestock would have to be drastically reduced.
Thousands of farmers have gathered in the central Netherlands to protest government plans to cut nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions, reports Al Jazeera. They drove across the Netherlands with their tractors and brought traffic to a standstill on the major motorways.
The protest was organized earlier this month after the government released targets for reducing emissions. This drew the ire of farmers, who claimed their livelihoods – and those of thousands of people working in the farming industry – were at stake.
The government spoke of an “inevitable transition” and called for emission reductions of up to 70 percent in many places near nature reserves and up to 95 percent elsewhere. Noisy Al Jazeera In recent years, courts have begun blocking permits for infrastructure and housing projects because the country has failed to meet its emissions targets.
According to the organizers, 40,000 farmers gathered on a green field in the small farming village of Stroe, some 70 kilometers east of the capital Amsterdam.
Horns blared, the farmers drove into a field where a banner read in Dutch: “What The Hague decides is very sad for farmers.” Another banner read: “We won’t be stopped any longer.”
Marijan van Heun, a 23-year-old dairy farmer from the central province of Utrecht, told the broadcaster that the government plans would deprive young farmers of their future:
“We can’t invest. Our fathers, our uncles, can’t invest in the future. And so we, as young farmers, have no prospect of taking over a farm.”
The ruling coalition has earmarked an additional €24.3 billion to fund changes that are likely to prompt many farmers to drastically reduce their livestock or eliminate them altogether.
Agriculture is a key sector of the Dutch economy, with exports worth almost 105 billion euros last year.
In The Hague, too, a few dozen farmers and their supporters gathered for breakfast on Wednesday morning before setting off to protest. Some wore t-shirts that said “No farmers, no food”.
“The rules are made here,” said dairy farmer Jaap Zegwaard, who parked his tractor on the edge of a park in the city. “I was asked to come here and offer breakfast so we can show that we are food producers and not polluters.”
Zegwaard said farmers are ready to talk about how to reduce emissions. But they would object to the industry taking most of the blame. “Now the agricultural sector is being dismissed as the main source of emissions, and that’s not right.”
more on the subject – Netherlands: Farmers across the country are protesting against environmental policies – as are thousands in Germany