In Belgium, as everywhere in Europe, farmers continue to demand their rights. Last Monday, hundreds of tractors paralyzed Brussels on the sidelines of a meeting of Agriculture Ministers of the Twenty-Seven paving the way for simplifications of the Common Agricultural Policy.
For its part, the Belgian Green Party has decided to make a strong gesture in favor of farmers. This Thursday, February 29, 2024, a bill modifying the Code of Economic Law was tabled by the Ecolo-Groen group with a view to guaranteeing a fair income to farmers. For Séverine de Laveleye and Gilles Vanden Burre, MP and leader of the Ecolo group, this environmentalist proposal aims to guarantee a fair price by protecting farmers during commercial negotiations.

The ambition of this proposal is to provide a structural response to the crises that have hit the agricultural world for several years. “Farmers’ anger takes place in a context of permanent economic difficulties, as evidenced by the sharp decrease in the number of farms. This context results from various factors, including pressure on food prices, where large-scale distribution and agro-industry impose their conditions on farmers. The market must be supervised in order to re-establish a balance between farmers and buyers and thus preserve the quality of Belgian agriculture, based on ambitious criteria of sustainability and health,” explain Gilles Vanden Burre and Séverine de Laveleye.

Among the proposed measures:
– Automatic and mandatory price indexation in the event of changes in the price of production factors and agricultural products.
– The ban on selling at a loss for agricultural and food products, to allow farmers to obtain at least a price equal to their production costs.
– Protection of the price set by farmers will be guaranteed throughout the agri-food chain, by taking into account the price of the agricultural raw material as an irreducible basis for the sale price between the different intermediaries.
– Better information for consumers on the origin of food products and their main ingredients.

“In parallel with these measures, the objective of our proposal is also to guarantee compliance with environmental, health and social standards applicable for the marketing of agricultural and food products in Belgium. With the establishment of a safeguard clause (mirror clause) for all market players, in and outside the European Union. After weeks of mobilization, the people who feed us need concrete answers at the (inter)national level,” explains Séverine de Laveleye, who recalls the Greens’ request to put an end to discussions concerning the Mercosur agreement.

“It is crucial to make choices to rebalance the agricultural and food chain and enable Belgian and European farmers to face the challenges facing them in the medium and long term. Guarantee a fair income for farmers to allow them to consider the future with more serenity,” concludes Gilles Vanden Burre.

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