The dairy farming sector has succeeded in decreasing the phosphate production. The intended reduction was already achieved halfway through this year. Together with the reduction of the phosphorus content in compound feed and the subsidy programme for those who stop farming, the Phosphate Reduction Plan has led to a reduction of 8.3 million kilograms, State Secretary Van Dam states in a letter to the Dutch Lower Chamber dated Friday 18 August 2017.
Thanks to the efforts made by the sector, the phosphate production for this year will according to the prognoses of the Central Statistical Office amount to 171.7 million kilograms and so remain below the limit (172.9 million kilograms) set by the European Union. This also brings the retention of the derogation for this year and the prospect of a new derogation period as from 2018 a step closer.
Based on this achieved result, the State Secretary will shortly have to start discussions with the European Committee about a new derogation period. However, in order to increase the chance of successful negotiations, it is necessary that the dairy farming sector sticks to the Phosphate Reduction Plan for the coming months.
The figures show that the sector has reached the objective of the scheme. This success is a boost for the negotiations with the European Union about the Nitrates Directive of the 6th Environmental Action Programme. The result is due to the fact that almost all of the over 17,000 dairy farmers complied with the request to achieve the reduction objective for their farms. Retention of the derogation has always been in the interest of the sector. Now the Netherlands must remain below the phosphate limit in order to meet the conditions set by the European Union with respect to the derogation.
Therefore it is important to maintain the achieved reduction for the coming period.’ In connection with this, the sector parties LTO Nederland, NZO, NMV (the trade union of the Dutch dairy farmers) and NAJK (Dutch Agricultural Young People’s Association) call on the dairy farmers to keep the ranks closed in order not to put the derogation at stake again.