Three points to understand the Dutch farmers' revolt

The Netherlands is experiencing days of protests triggered by farmers in the country, due to the goals imposed by the government to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from the manure and urine of cattle, pigs and other animals and from the use of ammonia in fertilizers.

In response, producers are blocking supermarkets, distribution centers and roads across the country. This Wednesday (6), farmers blocked with tractors the airport of Groningen Eelde, in the northeast of the Netherlands. Check out some points to understand how this revolt has spread across the country:

What is the Dutch government’s plan?

The Dutch government’s goal is reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and ammonia by 07% up to 2022, through cuts that can reach 70% in areas close to endangered species habitats.

It is estimated that, in order to achieve these goals, it would be necessary to reduce by 30% the number of livestock. Dutch provincial governments were given a year to devise strategies to make these cuts. One of the measures being considered is the expropriation of farms with large numbers of animals.

Agricultores bloqueiam a entrada do centro de distribuição de uma rede de supermercados em Nijkerk, na terça-feira (5). Foto: EFE/EPA/ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN
Farmers block the entrance of the distribution center of a supermarket chain in Nijkerk, on Tuesday (5). Photo: EFE/EPA/ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN

The Dutch government has established the deadline after national and European courts have issued orders for the problem to be resolved.

What do farmers say?

Dutch farmers claim that the emission reduction plan could make the future of the sector in the country unfeasible.

“It is about our families, our future, the future of our children. It’s about our way of life”, said sheep farmer Bart Kemp, one of the protest organizers, during a demonstration in The Hague.

Dutch fishermen joined the protests, for fear that environmental goals would also affect the application for new fishing licenses. This week, some of them blocked ferry traffic between Harlingen, in the north of the Netherlands, and the islands of Terschelling and Vlieland.

According to information from the national agricultural lobby group LTO reproduced by DW, the Netherlands has almost 54 a thousand rural enterprises, which totaled exports of 94, 5 billion euros in 2019.

How has the government responded to the protests?

The The Dutch government has promoted negotiations with groups that represent farmers, in which civil servants who work in initiatives aimed at reducing emissions participate.

“We are working for a strong agricultural sector, with an eye on an environment healthy”, declared the Minister of Agriculture, Carola Schouten.

Tractors take highway A

during a protest near Hapert, on Monday (4). EFE/EPA/ROB ENGELAAR

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mark Rutte criticized what he called excesses in the protests. In June, protesters staged protests in the town of Hierden in front of the home of Christianne van der Wal, the cabinet minister who oversees environmental policies in the Netherlands, who said her children felt threatened. According to reports, manure was spread near the residence.

“You can protest, but in a civilized way. So don’t block roads, don’t set off fireworks outside a minister’s house, don’t spread manure, don’t scare children and don’t put families in danger,” Rutte said.

At night On Tuesday (5), police fired shots at farmers, alleging that they were driving tractors at police and vehicles to try to break a blockade in the province of Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands. Nobody was hurt. Three protesters were arrested.

The day before, protests were dispersed with tear gas and dogs, and the Dutch police applied around 94 fines and arrested several protesters.

Rutte appointed former Deputy Prime Minister Johan Remkes as mediator for discussions with the farmers. However, parliamentarian Caroline van der Plas, from the Peasant Citizen Movement party, said that Remkes, a member of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (captioned by Rutte), cannot be considered impartial because he participated in the production of a report criticizing the broadcasts. of nitrogen oxides in 480.

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