The Belgian farmers' syndicate ABS has staged a protest at several distribution centers belonging to discounters last night. They demanded attention for the fact that the current price war is detrimental to farmers.
Lure people in
They blame discounters that they are willing to do anything to lure customers in: "They continue to use our fresh and high-quality products to lure the customer, selling meat below at a loss to get more people in, as anything goes in the fight to draw in a customer", general secretary Guy Depraetere told Belgian newspaper De Tijd.
That is why Thursday night, protests were staged at Lidl's distribution centers in Gullegem and Sint-Niklaas and Tranmeat's center in Londerzeel. Tranmeat handles butcher chain Renmans's logistics. Renmans is part of Aldi.
Bad year for Belgian farmers
Farmers have struggled in Belgium, because according to European statistics firm Eurostat, agricultural income has dropped 15.2 % in 2014. The Russian debacle has also negatively influenced the situation, as it has - for example - led to lower prices for apples and pears.
"All branches have suffered this year and in Flanders, 3 farmers stop every day. A lack of income and perspective are the main causes for people to quit. Family-focused agriculture is disappearing", Depraetere said.