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Malik Ayub Sumbal is Senior Broadcaster, Political Commentator, and Media Consultant. Malik has been associated with world-leading media outlets and news channels. He has more than 18 years of experience while working on key editorial positions. Malik was President at the Consortium for Press Freedom (CPF), a leading organization working for the Press Freedom and Free Speech around the world.
Dutch farmers battle for the right of their existence against draconian regulations

Dutch farmers battle for the right of their existence against draconian regulations

The Netherlands is a small country with a big agricultural sector. It is the second-largest exporter of agricultural products in the world and the largest exporter of meat in Europe. Its farmers produce food for millions of people, both at home and abroad. They are also proud of their tradition, innovation, and sustainability.



But now, these farmers are facing an existential threat from their own government. The government has proposed to slash emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia by 50% by 2030, and by more than 70% in areas close to nature conservation sites. This would mean that thousands of farms would have to close down or reduce their livestock drastically. The government claims that this is necessary to protect biodiversity and comply with EU law.

The farmers are not convinced. They argue that they are unfairly targeted and scapegoated for a problem that is caused by many other sectors, such as industry, transport, and aviation. They point out that they have already invested in reducing emissions and improving animal welfare, and that they contribute to the circular economy by using manure as fertilizer. They also fear that their livelihoods and rural communities will be destroyed by the government’s plans.

That is why they have been protesting for more than two years, using their tractors to block roads, occupy public spaces, and demonstrate outside politicians’ homes. They demand more respect, support, and compensation from the government. They also want more accountability for other polluting industries, such as Shell and Tata Steel. They say they are not against climate action, but they want a fair and realistic transition that does not sacrifice their sector.

The government has appointed a mediator to negotiate with the farmers’ organizations, but so far there has been little progress. The prime minister has ruled out talking to radical protesters who endanger others or damage infrastructure. The provincial governments have until July 2022 to come up with ways to implement the emission cuts, but some of them have indicated that they will not cooperate.

The situation is tense and uncertain. The farmers are determined to continue their fight for their future.  The public is divided between sympathy and frustration with the farmers’ actions.

The conflict between the government and the farmers shows no sign of resolution, as both sides remain entrenched in their positions. The farmers have vowed to continue their protests until their demands are met, while the government has refused to back down or negotiate. The situation has created a political crisis in the Netherlands, as well as a social divide between urban and rural populations.

Malik Ayub Sumbal is an Award-Winning journalist, Geopolitical Analyst, Commentator & Moderator. He is the author of his newly published book Tovuz to Karabakh, A Comprehensive Analysis of War in South-Caucasus. He tweet @ayubsumbal