Agriculture minister Piet Adema wants banks and supermarkets to play a greater role in solving the nitrogen compound crisis, saying the banks in particular must make financial concessions, the NRC reported on Tuesday.
Adema told the paper he wants banks to cut their loans to farms by 10%, which will give farmers more financial room to either stop or switch to greener farming practices. He has given them six months to come up with a proposal.
The plan would mean a €3.5 billion loss for Rabobank, which traditionally lends to the farming sector. A spokesman told the paper that while the bank wants to have a role in making farming more sustainable, scrapping loans is ‘not on’.
Supermarkets too have been given six months to come up with proposals to stimulate their customers into buying greener food, for example by highlighting the environmental cost of their products.
Retail sector lobby group CBL told the paper it had not yet been in touch with the minister but said it doubted the legality of forcing supermarkets to comply.
The minister aims to draw up a ‘farming agreement’ between the industry, food producers, green groups and local authorities which will lead to a more sustainable and circular farming sector which in turn will lead to a reduction in nitrogen emissions.
Adema aims to complete the agreement in March.
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