18 June 2008
BELGIUM – Wednesday’s protests by Belgium’s agriculture organisations are intended to show that farmers cannot stomach any more. Farmers insist that they are not making money from higher food prices and are demanding action from Belgium’s Government.
Piet Vanthemsche of the country’s largest farming organisation, the Boerenbond (BB), told the VRT that they were not targeting the distribution sector, but that the government has to provide clarity.
The BB wants to be able to pass on higher production costs to the consumer.
On Wednesday afternoon Flemish Prime Minister Kris Peeters (Christian democrat) is meeting delegations of farmers’ organisations.
A farmers’ delegation is also visiting the European Commission.
The farmers want to ensure that in world trade talks the EC does not sacrifice farmers’ interests in order to secure a deal.
They also want the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy to be adapted to the sector’s needs.
Farmers sell directly to consumer
The militant farmers’ organisation ABS is not taking part in the protests in Brussels. The organisation is demonstrating outside Flemish supermarkets on Wednesday.
The Flemish farmers are upset about the low prices they are receiving for farm products.
Camiel Adriaens told the VRT that farmers use fuel for tractors and heating. Prices of fuel, fertilizers and animal feed have shot up by between 30% and 45%. Higher production prices have not been compensated by higher prices in the shops.
In the vicinity of supermarkets Wednesday, farmers will sell their produce at the prices they get for them from the distribution sector.