Belgium: Hefty drop in Flanders' tomato cultivation

The number of tomato growers in Flanders has gone down precipitately. More and more family farms that cultivated the fruit are leaving the region. In fact, between 2005 and 2020, the number of farmers growing tomatoes decreased by 68%, falling from 546 to 174. MP Stefaan Sintobin from Vlaams Belang has expressed concern about the decline in Flemish agricultural businesses.

Sintobin said: “The fact that the number of Flemish agricultural businesses is constantly decreasing should be of concern to everyone. If the Flemish government wants to keep our family farms, it will also have to do something about all the regulatory nonsense.”

Commenting on the nitrogen framework — a package of measures with which Flanders wants to drastically reduce nitrogen emissions — he previously argued that the measure would be “a bad thing for the future of agriculture and would limit prospects for young farmers. Farmers are critical of the framework as well, stating it “is a sledgehammer blow for our agriculture and horticulture.”

In the province of Antwerp, the number of tomato growers fell by 60% in 15 years; in East Flanders, this drop was no less than 70%. In West Flanders, there are five times fewer growers than 15 years ago.


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