Around 150 farmers demonstrated on Friday in the Flemish-Brabant city of Halle against the supermarket chain Colruyt, which they claim is buying up too much farmland in Belgium.
The demonstrators made their way on tractors towards the headquarters of the large supermarket chain in the city center, according to Belga news agency.
They subsequently unloaded soil outside the building upon arrival. The farmers also held up signs with slogans such as “those who attempt to own our farmland will face our wrath” and “angry farmers against land theft”.
A recent study published by investigative media Apache suggests that Colruyt has bought up some 175 hectares of farmland in Belgium in recent years.
“This is driving up the prices for young farmers,” says Wim Moyaert, coordinator of the farmers movement ‘Boerenforum’.
“Land is becoming scarce and unaffordable. We fear that in the long run there will only be expensive and temporary rental contracts with big players like Colruyt, which would make it impossible to continue farming,” he added.
For the NGO ‘Résap’, a Belgian association that supports independent farmers, “Colruyt is just one of many examples. Large-scale distribution of corporations seek to take control of our food systems,” a spokesperson said.