Remkes: buying out or halving farms is a one-sided picture

Discussion leader Remkes believes that in the nitrogen discussion too much an image is evoked that it is about โ€œbuying up or halvingโ€ farms. After a new round of consultations under his leadership, he called that a far too one-sided image. He left whoever is responsible for it in the middle.

According to Remkes, there are five ‘directions’ for the agricultural sector: โ€œinnovation, extensification (fewer animals per hectare, ed.), relocation, switching to other products and stopping.โ€

In addition to members of the cabinet, banks and companies were sitting at the table today. The interlocutor compared the discussion to โ€œMax Verstappen who has to take the turnโ€. According to him, the key question is what lies on the other side of the curve and whether the participants can take the turn with peace of mind.

Remkes said that in conversation today it has been a lot about the ‘revenue model’ and whether ‘pricing’ is a solution. He reiterated that โ€œunfortunately one of the essential interlocutors was missingโ€. By that, he was referring to the supermarkets, which were invited but did not come. They want the cabinet and the farmers‘ organizations to talk again first.

Prime Minister Rutte joined Remkes’ criticism of supermarkets. He also wants that sector, together with buyers and suppliers, to think about how a strong farming sector can remain and how everyone can earn well from food production. Minister Van der Wal called the absence of supermarkets, animal feed companies and the meat processing industry today โ€œreally terribleโ€.

Consumers must also take responsibility

Van der Wal thinks it is quite normal for farmers to want to earn a living: โ€œWhen we go to a new agricultural system, it starts with income and with ourselves: we have to be willing to pay a good price. As a consumer, you can also take responsibility.โ€

See what Remkes said about the one-sided image that has emerged:

Remkes underlined that farmers themselves should be able to steer on their emissions. He referred to his own report a few years ago, in which the passage appeared: โ€œmeasuring is knowing betterโ€. According to him, this is now one of the key points in the discussion, but not too much has been done with it so far.

Rutte and Van der Wal both emphasized that the parties at the table really want to contribute to a solution. Rabo chief executive Draijer was also at the consultation and afterwards he said that his bank wants to offer farmers opportunities to become more sustainable โ€œwithin the framework of the governmentโ€.

He has said earlier that his bank is currently not financing investments from farmers close to Natura 2000 sites. Today, he added that he would like to finance farmers, but that he is waiting for clarity, perspective and certainty.