November 30, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

Complete News World

150 farmers protest in Halle against Colruyt's purchase of farmland

150 farmers protest in Halle against Colruyt’s purchase of farmland

About 150 farmers protested Friday afternoon in Halle against the Colruyt supermarket chain, which they believe buys up too much farmland. Farmers moved in columns and five tractors to Colruyt’s headquarters.

Over a period of just under two kilometres, the procession traveled from Bevrijdingsplein in Halle, through the administrative headquarters of the supermarket chain, to the logistics and warehouse center at Zinkstraat. A load of soil has been unloaded from a tractor in the parking lot of the Administrative Center and in Zinxtraat.

Protesting farmers carried banners and cardboard signs with slogans such as “Whoever wants to own the land will be angry”, “Farmers are angry at land grab” and “Collroit killed me”.

Nearly 150 farmers are raising what they call “land grab” by Colruyt. An investigation by the Apache news site recently revealed that Colruyt has purchased more than 175 hectares of farmland and pasture land in recent years.

“This leads to higher prices for small farmers,” says Wim Moert, coordinator of Boerenforum. Land is becoming scarce and expensive. We fear that it will only be possible to lease on temporary and expensive contracts from big players like Colruyt, making it no longer possible to continue farming.


Photo: ISOPIX

Boerenforum and other participating organizations are calling on the government to end these practices. To this end, they want, among other things, a land observatory, so that it becomes clear at a glance who buys the land at what prices, and how the rental rates are regulated. “Investing companies do not do any illegal work, the law allows it,” Muert explains. “So the policy must also be modified.”

Colruyt says in her response that she is buying farmland, specifically with the intent of allowing her to remain farmland. “If farmland is sold in the real estate market, it is often given a different destination and the farming cannot be done,” says Saskia de Block, Colruyt’s Agriculture Officer. “Our intention is for the agricultural land to remain agricultural land.”

The supermarket chain also ensures that it does not act “aggressively”. “We look at file by file and see market prices.”

It was no coincidence that the event took place on Friday, the International Day of Peasant Struggle.

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