Flemish Minister calls on Farmer's Union to invest profits on helping farmers

Flemish Minister calls on Farmer's Union to invest profits on helping farmers
Flemish Minister Zuhal Demir. Credit: Belga / Juliette Bruynseels.

Belgian Farmer's Union De Boerenbond must take responsibility and invest the profits in a fund that should help Flemish farmers through the difficult transition they are facing, stated the Flemish Minister for the Environment Zuhal Demir after seeing the broadcast about the union on the Flemish investigative journalism programme 'Pano' on VRT News Wednesday night.

In the episode 'Farmers Looking for a Future', farmers testified about their reservations about the Boerenbond, the nitrogen policy and the agricultural industry. The farmers’ union bears a "crushing responsibility" for the painful situation in which farmers find themselves today, according to the minister.

"Instead of taking their responsibility, they ask to adjust the nitrogen policy. Just because that fits in with their business model: more money for the Boerenbond holding. All while our farmers are fighting for a fair price," Demir stated.

The minister draws a parallel with the Dutch situation, where a debate is raging in the House of Representatives about holding Rabobank (the Dutch bank historically fused with agriculture) financially liable.

"The Boerenbond holding is also a shareholder of a bank (KBC)," noted Demir. The minister called on the Boerenbond to "put their profits of the past two years, €800 million, into a fund to help our farmers."

Tweet translation: Our farmers deserve better than a system in which the farmer milks the cow and the Boerenbond the farmer. The further implementation of the nitrogen agreement is crucial for the future of our agriculture. #Pano

"Now that we are at a turning point with our nitrogen policy and the responsibilities are clear, my question above all is: what does the Boerenbond do in return for the farmer?"

The Pano programme also strengthened Demir’s conviction that "above all, the decided nitrogen agreement of colleague Crevits and myself must be implemented, without mercy. If we don’t do this, we will fool the farmer."

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In the spring, the Flemish government concluded a nitrogen agreement. The many participation responses that were submitted in the summer months are currently being processed. This is followed by further discussion within the Flemish government.

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