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Appeals Tribunal for business makes judgment in snout beetle case

Persistent bell pepper grower receives higher compensation after crop clearance

A Dutch red bell pepper grower that had to clear out his greenhouse at the end of 2012 due to the discovery of snout beetle can count on more extensive compensation from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV). This is apparent from a recent decision by the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) in the long-running dispute between the grower and the ministry. 

Following the discovery of the beetle at the end of 2012, the affected grower was asked by the NVWA to clear his crop. After various legal judgments, the grower subsequently received compensation of 44,000 euros in 2016, according to the ministry half of the total costs.

Special circumstances or 'normal business risk'
However, the grower did not leave it at that. He appealed and it now has appeared to be successful. The grower pointed out during a court session in April this year that the reimbursement is much lower than the claimed cost of more than 600,000 euros. According to him, because he had to clear up after he had just done a crop change, he was hit extra hard because his young plants were cleared and he, therefore, had to start a new crop later.

The ministry pointed out earlier that, according to them, the discovery of the beetle falls within the normal business risks. The grower does not agree with that. He states that contamination was unforeseeable and that he also helped other growers by acting appropriately. In total, the beetle was found at four growers in 2012.

The CBb has now ruled that in compensating the damage, LNV must use a broader definition of the relevant EZ subsidies framework law and must also take into account the special circumstances (destruction of young plants). The grower can expect a new decision from the ministry within twelve weeks.

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