ProVeg International calls for food systems change in wake of planned Belgian livestock farm closures
9 March 2022
A food systems change that supports farmers is urgently needed, food awareness organisation ProVeg International said today, in response to the news that 60 livestock farms in the Flanders region of Belgium will be closing down.
The Flemish government is pushing ahead with plans to close livestock farms to reduce nitrogen emissions. The regional government reached an agreement1 in late February on its policy, which will result in the closure of the most polluting livestock farms first.
A further 120 other farms causing nitrogen pollution will receive an offer from the Flemish government to voluntarily close their doors in return for financial compensation. They can continue operating if they meet the required environmental conditions.
“We welcome this initiative from the Flemish government to take the first steps towards a more sustainable food system. Intensive animal agriculture causes serious damage to our planet,” Jasmijn de Boo, Vice-President of ProVeg International, said.
“In the face of a climate crisis these are necessary steps to take. Farmers should be supported to transition towards more environmentally friendly practices such as plant-based crop farming,” she adds.
De Boo said the role of farmers in food security, self-reliance and sustainability is hugely important and said farmers needed to use land to grow crops more efficiently and in harmony with nature.
Better farming methods include precision-farming, vertical farming and technologies that increase yield, decrease land and water use, and cause lower GHG emissions.
The Flanders government has committed €3.6 billion until 2030 to its nitrogen emissions policy. The policy also envisages a reduction in the number of pigs in Flanders by 30% by 2030 and sets up a system to buy-out other pig farmers where the farmers want to leave the business.
Specifically, red companies with an impact score higher than 50% will be affected by 2025 at the latest. For dark orange companies with an impact score higher than 20%, a voluntary cessation scheme is being worked out. For pig farms with an impact score higher than 0.5%, a call for termination is launched, with the government aiming to achieve a reduction of the pig population by 30% by 2030.
Around €1bn of the €3.6bn allocated for the project will go towards nature restoration. Last year, the Flemish Land Agency (VLM) demolished a pig farm with the goal of integrating it into two nearby nature reserves.
- Details on the nitrogen emissions policy is available in here.
Notes to Editors
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About ProVeg International
ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and our planet.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award.