“Make a policy with room for farmers to farm in harmony with nature”

Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir unexpectedly announced two ministerial instructions on Monday with stricter nitrogen rules for permits. These instructions seem to be one more episode in the political theater on nitrogen politics and are not helping anyone. Moreover, they create even more uncertainty for all farmers and also victimize companies that have little impact, without offering them a way out. Bioforum calls for a calm debate, in which a vision of the agriculture of the future sets the course for a policy allowing farmers to cultivate in harmony with nature.

For BioForum, it is obvious that measures are needed to limit nitrogen deposits in Flemish natural areas. But it must be done efficiently. Small and medium enterprises that have little impact should not be sacrificed in a generic policy.

BioForum has pleaded on several occasions to better take into account the real impact that a company has on a nearby nature reserve. The ministerial instructions issued do not take this into account.

Imposing a de facto halt on permits helps no one and only creates debilitating uncertainty for farmers. Bioforum calls for rapid work on a complete legal framework which will be fixed by decree. A framework that also recognizes the added value of organic farming to tackle the nitrogen problem in depth – also in the longer term.

This requires not only an agreement on ammonia emissions, but a solution that offers an answer to the various environmental and natural challenges in terms of biodiversity, animal welfare, climate, etc. And this is where the organic sector can play its exemplary role in making agriculture more sustainable.

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