At least a thousand tractors head to Brussels in farmers' protest on Friday

At least a thousand tractors are heading towards Brussels early on Friday to campaign against the Flemish government's agricultural policy. In the centre of the capital, they will form a 10-kilometre-long procession.

The tractors will depart from the various Flemish provinces and head towards Brussels via secondary roads. Motorways are off-limits for agricultural vehicles.

The organisers aim to gather at noon at the Brussels Havenlaan (Avenue du Port). At 11.30 am, the participants will collectively start to honk their horns. From there, the protesters will head to the inner ring road under police escort. With at least a thousand tractors, the vehicles will form a line of approximately 10 kilometres. Between 2 pm and 2.30 pm, the protesters should be leaving Brussels.

The farmers and horticulturalists say they sound the alarm because the Flemish government's nitrogen agreement, as it stands, is causing a "socio-economic bloodbath". Several farmer's organisations are demanding a thorough adjustment of the deal.

The nitrogen dossier has caused much commotion in the agricultural sector. Agricultural businesses consider the agreement too strict and, in many cases, unfeasible, while various environmental organisations believe that the agreement needs to go further. The government deal states that pig and poultry farms must reduce nitrogen emissions from stables by 60 per cent by 2030, and the pig population must be reduced by 30 per cent by 2030. The most polluting farms will have to close their doors by 2025.

The farmers also call for immediate approval of the Flemish Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Until there is clarity on the rules to be laid down in that CAP, farmers cannot start their field operations or sow crops.



#FlandersNewsService | Photo shows a previous farmers' protest against the Flemish government's handling of the nitrogen dossier © BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER

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