Talks on reforming the Dutch agricultural industry collapsed on Wednesday afternoon following the decision by the main farmers’ organisation LTO to leave the negotiating table on Tuesday evening.
Supermarkets, environmental groups and food firms who have been part of the talks for the past six months said there was no point in continuing without the powerful farmers’ lobby.
The talks aimed to draw up a consensus-based approach to tackling farm reform, including the target of slashing nitrogen compound emissions by 50% by 2030.
Farms minister Piet Adema told reporters that it was a “very sad day” for farming and the natural environment. “This is a massive missed opportunity,” he said.
Earlier Adema said the agreement had been completed for 95%, but that farmers did not dare to take the final step. Major concessions had been made towards the farming sector and “very clear agreements had been made about farming’s transition to a more sustainable future,” he told reporters.
The failure of the talks means it is up to the government to come up with measures, and that will be discussed in Friday’s cabinet meeting.
The issue is complicated by the fact the government does not have majority support in the upper house of parliament, in which the pro-farming party BBB is now the biggest.
The BBB is also the dominant party in the 12 provincial councils, which will be charged with carrying out much of the reforms. In particular, farmers want to extend the deadline for halving nitrogen emissions to 2035.
Adema will discuss the collapse of the talks with MPs next week.
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