Farmers Blockade EU Capital to Fight Fertiliser Restrictions

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by Eric Worrall at

Green policy obsessed European leaders are ignoring the implications of Sri Lanka’s organic farming food crisis.

Massive farmers protest disrupts Brussels traffic

BRUSSELS (AP) — Hundreds of tractors driven by angry farmers protesting a plan to cut nitrate levels converged on Brussels on Friday, creating major traffic disruption in Belgium’s capital city.

The BB farmers union and several others combined efforts to gather more than 2,700 farm vehicles, according to Brussels police.

The Flemish regional government is struggling to find a deal to cut nitrate pollution over farmers’ objections that it would put many out of business. 

Farmers also claim that their trade has to make much deeper cuts than industry and want to see a more equitable spread.

Why are EU member state governments clamping down on farming practices?


Protecting waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources


Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient that helps plants and crops grow, but high concentrations are harmful to people and nature. Pure, clean water is vital to human health and to natural ecosystems. Excess nitrogen from agricultural sources is one of the main causes of water pollution in Europe.

Nitrates and organic nitrogen compounds from fertilizer and manure enter groundwater through leaching and reach surface water through runoff from agricultural fields. A high level of nitrate makes water unsuitable as drinking water.

In rivers, lakes and marine waters, nitrogen and other nutrients, in particular phosphorus, stimulate the growth of algae. At moderate levels, algae serve as food for aquatic organisms, including fish. However, excessive nutrient concentration in water systems will cause algae to grow excessively. This affects the natural ecosystem and can lead to depletion of the oxygen in the water. This phenomenon, known as eutrophication, has negative consequences for biodiversity, fisheries and recreational activities.

The EU also has another reason for trying to force down the use of fertiliser. Nitrous oxide emissions from farms are a potent greenhouse gas.

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