THE HAGUE, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Dutch farmers blocked around 20 supermarket distribution centers across the country on Monday to protest against the government's nitrogen policy.
With their tractors the farmers blocked distribution centers of, in particular, the largest Dutch supermarket chains Albert Heijn and Jumbo in, among other locations, Veghel, Breda, Beilen, Woerden, Nieuwegein, Drachten, Heerenveen, Zwolle, Geldermalsen and Nijkerk. At some centers the blockade lasted only a few hours, at others all day.
Delivery services also suffered from the blockades and had to cancel many deliveries. In the supermarkets customers were not yet affected by the blockades, but there are problems with the delivery of new products.
The farmers do not agree with the planned nitrogen reduction policy of the government. The consequence of the proposed measures is that farmers may have to close their businesses, to relocate or to make concrete plans to make their business more sustainable.
The Dutch Central Food Trade Agency (CBL), the branch organization of supermarkets and food service companies, has called on protesting farmers to immediately lift the blockades of distribution centers. In addition, the CBL appealed to the judiciary and the police to intervene firmly and force to lift blockades.
"These blockades are unacceptable," the CBL declared in a statement. "The CBL previously called on the government and farmers to use the dialogue and resolve the conflict. The farmers have a conflict with the government about nitrogen, the members of the CBL are not involved. Blockades of distribution centers hurt the citizens of the Netherlands."
"Supermarkets are doing everything they can to keep the stores stocked," the statement continued. "But when such blockages last longer, it can mean that the daily shopping can no longer be done." ■