Mint explains: Beginning January, farmers from several member-nations of the European Union (EU)—Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain—invaded cities with their tractors, burning tyres, dumping manure, raiding supermarkets, blocking access to ports and highways and choking city centres. They are protesting subsidy cuts, high energy prices, cheap grain imports from Ukraine, beef imports from Latin America, growing clout of big agribusiness and climate policies limiting the use of chemical inputs. It is a profitability crisis—due to higher farming costs and low produce prices.
Back in 2019, Dutch farmers took to the streets after the government disclosed plans to cut nitrogen emissions by slashing livestock population. In January this year, German farmers paralyzed Berlin after the government said it will phase out tax breaks on diesel for agricultural use; in France, farmers sprayed manure on state buildings protesting fuel subsidy cuts. Farmer across Europe are enraged by EU environment policies which target net zero emissions by 2050.
These include a drastic reduction in use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and ‘nature restoration’ policies setting aside farm land for conservation purposes. France has rolled back fuel subsidy cuts and suspended pesticide reduction mandates. Germany said it will phase out fuel subsidies gradually.
In November, politicians voted against the EU’s proposed pesticide regulations—and a new set of climate rules is in the works ahead of elections in June. For now, nature restoration plans have been deferred. As in Europe, farmers in India want better crop prices.Read more on livemint.com