No breakthrough in sight for Agriculture Agreement after 24 hour-long talks

After consulting from Wednesday morning through the night to Thursday, there is still no breakthrough in sight for the Agriculture Agreement. Early Thursday morning, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that “intensive, good discussions” had been held. “But there is still a lot of work to be done.” There is no Agriculture agreement yet, said Agriculture Minister Piet Adema after about 24 hours of talks. He expects more “intensive talks” in the coming weeks. “There is still more that needs to happen.”

“After a long day and night, we have taken important steps. There is an advanced concept that we have tested by knowledge institutes. With that information, we continue on our way to an agricultural agreement,” Adema tweeted. The parties involved are still discussing the funding of farmers who will do landscape management, protecting farmers and horticulturists that continue, manure, and land attachment.

“We are talking about very big themes, which are far-reaching for the agricultural sector. It is really something,” Adema said when leaving the meeting.

Three agricultural parties, including the Land- en Tuinbouworganisatie (LTO), Minister Adema, and Prime Minister Rutte, spoke through the night. All the other parties had left by 3:30 a.m., a spokesperson for the meeting said. Rutte joined the talks earlier in the night to ensure a breakthrough. But that did not lead to an agreement.

LTO previously issued another ultimatum which expired on Monday last week. The organization was not satisfied with the final text of the negotiation agreement. It rejected the draft text because it needed “significant revision.” When the LTO agreed to join the talks on Wednesday, it said it wanted to come to a definitive agreement.

The concept agreement leaked on Tuesday via RTL Nieuws. The documents showed that the agriculture sector must meet stricter sustainability requirements, but farmers would retain a higher margin. The more stringent standards will likely drive prices, and sources say those increases will not be borne solely by the consumer. Farmers will also have to do more in nature management in exchange for compensation. That would partly compensate for the reduction in the value of agricultural land.

On Wednesday, NOS reported that Adema expects the plans in the agreement to cost 6.7 billion euros, plus a structural 600 million euros annually for the farmers’ nature management. According to the broadcaster, the Minister also wants to limit the number of livestock to about two cows per football field-sized plot of agricultural land.

Reporting by ANP and NL Times

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