Parliament supports the SP: Fair price for farm produce

18 March 2011

Parliament supports the SP: Fair price for farm produce

SP Member of Parliament Henk van Gerven has won the support of the Dutch Parliament in his bid to see tackled the growing problems inflicted on farmers by price manipulation and unstable food prices. Parliament this week voted in favour of a motion from Van Gerven urging the government to meet with farmers’ organisations in order to come up with a solution. In addition, Secretary of State for Agriculture Henk Bleker accepted a proposal from the SP that he try to put a stop to the practice of paying millions in subsidies to those who have no need of them.

Henk van GervenAccording to Van Gerven this represents a significant step forward. “Extremely high food prices are damaging for the consumer and exacerbate global hunger. Extremely low farm prices are damaging for the farmer, and thus for the basis of food production. The enormous fluctuations which we are now seeing are therefore bad in two ways. It’s good that the government has been told to look for solutions.”

The SP wants farmers to receive a fair price for their produce. This would also mean that in time subsidies could be done away with. Van Gerven believes that if Europe supplied more of its own needs, this could contribute to developing a more sustainable agriculture. The SP also wants to see products such as soya beans grown in ways which lead to the destruction of rain forest in the Third World excluded from the food market. Third World countries should be enabled to prevent dumping of farm products by Western governments.

While many farmers live below the poverty line, in 2009 11,200 people and corporations received more than a million euros in subsidies. Amongst them were not only big farmers, but also major corporations such as Rum Martinique, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, Queen Elizabeth II of England and a Danish snooker club. The SP has for years urged that an immediate end be put to this bizarre practice in Europe. Secretary Bleker has endorsed the SP’s standpoint on this, and promises that he will make every effort to have a ceiling put on EU subsidies and to ensure that these are paid to farmers and not to royal families or airports.

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