Farm minister Sharon Dijksma and Dutch pig farmers have failed to reach agreement on the farmers’ demands for more government support as pork prices fall due to over supply in Europe.
Many pig farmers are in financial difficulty and want the minister to be more flexible about the rules on animal welfare and the environment. These, they say, are stricter than those in other European countries.
While Dijksma has refused to make any concessions on animal welfare issues, she is prepared to look at the cost of meat and export licences, which farmers say are too high.
She has also agreed to look into the option of increasing exports to China. One of the causes of the current crisis in pig farming is the Russian boycott.
‘The government cannot take on all the risks which farmers face but we will talk again,’ Dijksma said.
Ingrid Janssen of the Dutch pig farmers’ association NVV said the talks had been tricky and that many pig farmers are in a dire situation. Asked if Dutch motorists might have to deal with protesting farmers, as has happened in France, Janssen said: ‘We will now decide what to do next and what form any action will take.’
The minister and pig farmers will meet again in two weeks. The Netherlands has some 6,500 pig farmers producing some 25 million pigs a year, according to government figures.
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