Belgian growers suffer under rising energy prices

The energy crisis is weighing heavily on people who use greenhouses, according to reports from the Flemish Infocentre for Agriculture and Horticulture (VILT). Many growers in Flanders are preparing to cut back on their energy use or shorten their growing season.

“We have no choice but to stop growing peppers a fortnight early, but in the meantime, the bills have to be paid, of course,” one of those growers told VILT.

“What is happening now is beyond our control and is the result of what is happening on the world market,” Didier Algoet, a pepper grower, said. "There are always highs and lows when it comes to business in agriculture and horticulture, but the current energy crisis is unprecedented."

Belgian Horticulturalists today are having to pay around 20% more for natural gas, meaning their systems for converting gas into electricity are not giving them sufficient returns.

Algoet said he wishes the government would have set up strategic reserves during the coronavirus crisis when usage was down. “I understand that the situation was perhaps not entirely predictable, but instead of selling all the gas during the lockdowns to China, perhaps the government should have taken precautions,” Algoet told VILT.

“Now we are totally dependent on Russia. On top of that, there was also very little wind in 2021 and so the energy crisis is complete.”

Any grower using lighting for their crops is facing the same issue, and thus many of them are choosing to turn off the lights entirely.

Read the complete article at brusselstimes.com.


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