Norway farmers protest meagre pickings / News / The Foreigner

Norway farmers protest meagre pickings. Norwegian Farmers Union (NFU) members are conducting nationwide protests over the latest governmental framework, production prices, and income package. In April this year, parliament decided that food prices should rise 20 percent in the next 20 years in line with expected population growth, providing sufficient income to both achieve this and ensure continued recruitment to farming.The state has offered 625 million kroner in this year’s package, but farmers have demanded 2.2 billion. According to the NFU, average annual incomes are under 300,000 kroner per man-labour year, whilst it is 469,000 on average in other sectors. Talks between the NFU and negotiators broke down, Saturday. Whilst the lesser sized Norwegian Farmers and Smallholders Union has suspended negotiations several times in the last few years, this is the first time the NFU has done this since 2000. Farmers were so angered, that they dumped a pile of manure in front of government headquarters.

norwayfarmers, agricultureagreementnorwegianstate



The Foreigner Logo

The Foreigner is an online publication for English speakers living or who have an interest in Norway. Whether it’s a glimpse of news or entertainment you’re after, there’s no need to leave your linguistic armchair. You don’t need to cry over the demise of the English pages of Aftenposten.no, The Foreigner is here!

Norske nyheter på engelsk fra Norge. The Foreigner er en engelskspråklig internett avis for de som bor eller som er interessert i Norge.

Google+ Google+ Twitter Facebook RSS RSS



News Article

LATEST:

Norway farmers protest meagre pickings

Published on Monday, 14th May, 2012 at 14:08 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 16th May 2012 at 09:41.

Norwegian Farmers Union (NFU) members are conducting nationwide protests over the latest governmental framework, production prices, and income package.

View from cab: Versatile (tm) tractor
View from cab: Versatile (tm) tractor
Photo: C.K. Hartman/Flickr


Backtracking

In April this year, parliament decided that food prices should rise 20 percent in the next 20 years in line with expected population growth, providing sufficient income to both achieve this and ensure continued recruitment to farming.
The state has offered 625 million kroner in this year’s package, but farmers have demanded 2.2 billion. According to the NFU, average annual incomes are under 300,000 kroner per man-labour year, whilst it is 469,000 on average in other sectors.

Talks between the NFU and negotiators broke down, Saturday. Whilst the lesser sized Norwegian Farmers and Smallholders Union has suspended negotiations several times in the last few years, this is the first time the NFU has done this since 2000. Farmers were so angered, that they dumped a pile of manure in front of government headquarters.

The NFU alleges the government’s latest proposal means annual incomes per man-labour year will rise by only 13,000 kroner (4.5 percent) in comparison to other groups’ 17,000.

The Ministry of Agriculture Food claims farmers’ 2.2 billion kroner figure will mean incomes rise to 50,000 kroner per year, and require 1.5 billion kroner over and above state allocations, currently at approximately 1.2 percent of the entire budget.

In a statement, NFU leader Nils T. Bjørke says, “The NFU cannot take responsibility for an agricultural agreement that does not take parliament’s decision to increase food production seriously. Both the government and we agree that income is vital. We cannot negotiate an offer that reduces revenue relative to other groups.”

“The settlement is not just about income now. It is about ensuring farming across the country, production of safe food for consumers and to ensure nearly 100 000 jobs in the agriculture and food industry sectors. The government has not followed this up with its offer.”

Holy cow

Farmers nationwide are now protesting. Yesterday, farmers in Rogaland country, western Norway, blockaded the E39 motorway with their tractors in five-minute periods for half-an-hour. They handed out flyers and eggs to motorists before letting them through. 60 tractors driving in single file on the E6 in Gudbrandsdalen, north of Vinstre in Oppland country, also caused queues of traffic.

Today, dairy farmers in Bergen emptied milk onto the streets. Farmers surprised the mayor of Kvinnherad in Hordaland County by placing a bovine in front of the council building this morning. Labour’s (Ap) Synnøve Solbakken told NRK, “a cow standing in front of the main door is not exactly an everyday occurrence.”

Protesters erected a banner inscribed with “the cow has not been milked today, so now she’s just waiting for Synnøve.”

According to the mayor, conditions for the animal were not good. “I think using placards, silage bales and tractors is acceptable, but I distance myself strongly from this and emptying milk out onto the streets,” she declared.

Amongst reports of other actions, including the temporary ‘kidnapping’ of five county mayors, deputy Norwegian Farmers Union leader Brita Skallerud tells The Foreigner, “we’re will to go quite far.”

“Although we don’t have a complete oversight of what is happening and going to happen this week, there will be protests outside county halls in villages all over Norway.”

“Regrettable”

Adding that “the Norwegian consumer is our best friend and they want Norwegian-produced food”, she concludes, “I would advise people to buy in extra food this week as we don’t know which products will not be available on supermarket shelves. The effects of this week’s actions will be noticed next week.”

Farmers have no arbitration rights as the agricultural settlement comes directly from the state. Only parliament can intervene in the matter.

Minister of Agriculture Lars Peder Brekk said in a statement following the talks breakdown, “for six years, the government has increased income in agriculture significantly. Never in history has income growth in agriculture been so great as under the coalition government.”

“Every year, this government has come with an offer that has given farmers a significant income growth. Negotiations have brought important supplements. By breaking talks without having to negotiate, the organisations choose not to avail themselves of these this year.”

“This country’s farmers’ contribution is fantastic. I fully understand their impatience. I completely agree their income should be increased year-on-year [...] I find it regrettable that these organisations choose to break talks before they have attempted proper negotiations.”

Minister Brekk was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Foreigner.




Published on Monday, 14th May, 2012 at 14:08 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 16th May 2012 at 09:41.

This post has the following tags: norwayfarmers, agricultureagreementnorwegianstate.


You might also be interested in...

 
Farmers disrupt bread production




  
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!