From farm to road: Wave of farmer protests sweeps across Europe

Amid the seemingly global rise in inflation – which began with the effects of the pandemic and worsened by the global oil crisis fueled by the Russian-Ukrainian war – Europe is bearing the brunt of it. As if energy security were not enough of a problem, it has now spawned another potential (but expected) crisis: food security.

The European agricultural sector is giving a different meaning to ‘farm to road’ as a wave of protests has spread across the continent, demanding that government policies reflect the needs of the industry.

The Netherlands kicked off the wave with Dutch farmers organizing protests against their government’s proposed environmental regulations aimed at reducing pollutant emissions. The country’s cabinet has proposed a £22billion scheme after being ordered by the courts to cut emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia from livestock by 50% by 2030.

As part of the government’s measure to combat this, The Hague is considering compulsory purchases of farms which would lead to closures. This could force 30% of farms in the country to close, according to a Dutch farmers’ union.

Dutch farmers took to the streets to protest upcoming regulations, blocking major roads and supermarket entrances.

Germany in solidarity; Poland joins across the country

Soon after, German farmers joined Dutch protesters in blocking the road on their common border.

Germany itself has seen its farmers’ associations challenge an amendment to the renewable energy law recently passed by the country’s parliament. While aiming to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy in Berlin, the group laments that the amendment does not sufficiently support the production of biogas.

“It is completely incomprehensible that in the midst of this massive energy crisis, a sustainable household energy source such as biogas is being held back in the production of electricity, heat and biomethane,” said Bernhard Krüsken, Secretary general of Germany. Farmers Association.

Farmers demonstrate on the German-Dutch border
Source: ANP/Alamy Stock Photos

Polish farmers also protested in solidarity, themselves opposing their own government’s policies related to the agricultural industry, including the rising cost of fertilizers and competition from cheap food imports, causing the cost of agriculture to soar. local production.

Farmers gathered in the streets of Warsaw shouting cries of protest: “Enough is enough! We will not be robbed! and “We workers cannot pay for the crisis created by politicians!”

Italy in heat

Adding to the drought Italy is currently facing, heat from growing protests by farmers is building up on roads in rural areas. Tractors blocking major roads threaten to “come to Rome” if government inaction continues.

Italy earlier this week declared a state of emergency in five regions as the north of the country faces an economically threatening drought. The country’s largest Po river, which generates around 14% of Italy’s agricultural production, is at its lowest level in 70 years.

A local confederation of farmers estimates the damage caused by the water shortage at around 3 billion euros.

“We have about 30 percent less milk production and about 30 to 40 percent less cereals and corn,” said Fabio Bonaccorso, spokesman for the national confederation of Italian farmers Coldiretti. “It is a strategic decision for the future to fight against this climate change. We have to spend money on a new type of irrigation and a new type of crop.

In 2020, the European Union produced a total of €335.9 billion in agricultural output, with France and Italy leading the pack in terms of contribution with around 18% and 14%, respectively.

Dutch farmers continue to protest, with uprisings also coming from Moerdijk and Nijmegen.

Information for this briefing was found via Farmers Weekly, Euractiv, Bloomberg and Financial Times. The author has no security or affiliation related to this organization. Not a buy or sell recommendation. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a title. The author holds no license.

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