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    Farmers Protest in Netherlands

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    Farmers Protest in Netherlands

    In scenes reminiscent of the farmers’ protests in India, the Dutch farmers too brought their loaded tractors on to city streets. The farmer leaders have also called for “the entire country to be paralysed”. There have been stray incidents of the protests going violent.

    A week after they brought their cows to the country’s Parliament in The Hague, Dutch farmers today took to the streets to protest the nitrogen reduction targets the Netherlands government has set.

    The farmers have been angered by government plans that may require them to use less fertilizer and reduce livestock. Farmers argue that the move targets them unfairly and that the government is insensitive towards them.

    Netherlands aims to halve nitrogen output by 2030. The burden of meeting the targets will fall on Dutch dairy farmers.

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    On Monday, farmers travelled to Amsterdam and The Hague from across the country by tractor and blockaded supermarket distribution centres, insisting that the new environmental rules on nitrogen emissions would harm their livelihoods.

    They were joined by fishers who, in a show of solidarity, put the brakes on ports operations, interrupting ferries from sailing and delaying shipping and port logistics.

    In scenes reminiscent of the farmers’ protests in India, the Dutch farmers too brought their loaded tractors on to city streets. A first lot of tractors blocked entrances to supermarket distribution centres, disrupting food trade.

    Again, reminiscent of the Indian farm movement, the farmer leaders have called for “the entire country to be paralysed”, threatening to block further traffic moving to the air and sea ports.

    There have been stray incidents of the protests going violent.

    Images shared over social media handles showed what appeared to be military vehicles towing the farmers’ tractors away.

    Nitrogen cuts

    Last Tuesday, each farmer had brought along two cows to suggest that they would have to return home with one if the government insisted on its plans to cut down nitrogen emissions by half – suggesting that the other cow would go to the slaughterhouse and affect their livelihoods irreversibly.

    In some locations, the cuts on nitrogen emissions are planned to exceed 70 per cent. Experts estimates that this will impact three out of 10 livestock farms.

    The government, on the other hand, says that the target is necessary to meet the European Union rules on reducing nitrogen pollution that mainly emanate from cattle and fertilizers.

    The government also argues that it is bound to follow a 2019 ruling by the country’s highest court to implement the measures.

     

    Image: Wikimedia / kees torn

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