A decrease in the amount of land used for local food production in Belgium would be alarming, says the Support Network for Farming. The “World-wide day for farming” network has organised an information campaign, which will last until the 17th of April. It aims to bring attention to access to farming land, and the future of food in Belgium. This year’s campaign, the fifth, focuses on the access to land. The network has calculated that over the last 25 years, the equivalent of 3,000 football stadiums a year has been urbanised in Wallonia. This is “land that no longer provides”. No less than 30% of small agricultural holdings in Wallonia have disappeared since 2000.
“Agricultural land is mainly in the hands of excessively specialised holdings, which cater to the market and are constantly pushed to expand”, warns Corentin Dayez, a campaign organiser. “There is not enough agricultural land to allow food production at local level, which makes us dependent on exports”, he explains.
The “Farming struggle: what will we eat tomorrow?” campaign started on Friday. It will consist of varied events, such as conferences, cine-debates, distributions of handouts or potato plantations. They will mainly be organised by local offices in Wallonia and Brussels.
The World-wide day for Farming on the 17th of April commemorates the killing of 19 farmers from the ‘Without land” movement in Brazil in 1996. They were killed by land owners. It reminds people of the unequal ownership of land. The network says that in Europe, 3% of large farmers own 50% of the land.