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Dutch farmers' protests take an ugly turn

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Farmers protests resume in the Netherlands

The resumption of farmers' protest across the Netherlands after a break of a few weeks will be a cause for concern. Though Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte urged them to stop, farmers seem to be in no mood to relent. The farmers dumped manure and garbage on the highways blocking several roads, as a mark of protest against the government’s environmental policy action which includes reducing nitrogen emissions.

The Netherlands is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers, exporting 65 billion Euros worth of vegetables, fruit, flowers, meat and dairy products each year.

Last month the Netherlands announced plans for a 22 billion Euro programme to cut nitrogen and ammonia emissions by 50-70 per cent nationwide by 2030, to comply with European Union regulations on nitrate pollution.

At several places, protesting farmers even set manure on fire.

Fear has gripped the farmers as thousands of them feel they will lose livelihoods.

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands took to Twitter to condemn the actions. He said that the protests by a small group of farmers on highways are unacceptable.

“Willfully endangering others, damaging our infrastructure and threatening people who help clean up is beyond all limits,” he said in a tweet.

According to BBC, the Dutch government’s proposals for tackling nitrogen emissions indicate a radical cut in livestock - they estimate 11,200 farms will have to close and another 17,600 farmers will have to significantly reduce their livestock.

The report added that other proposals include a reduction in intensive farming and the conversion to sustainable ‘green farms’.

The farmers protests have led to fresh concerns over food security in Europe, which is reeling under high inflation and energy crisis.

Earlier, the protests spread to other countries including Germany, Poland, Italy and Spain among others.   

Also read: Climate activism takes a hit as European farmers march against organic farming