Supermarket Shelves Bare as Dutch Farmers Continue Nation-Wide Protests

Farmers block the entrance of the distribution center of a supermarket to protest against

Dutch farmers protesting government plans to reduce emissions that could put many out of business have continued blocking supermarket distribution centres Tuesday, leading to bare shelves in some supermarkets.

Around ten distribution centres across the country were blocked on Tuesday, as many supermarkets reported bare shelves due to an inability to receive goods from the distribution centres, as some estimate that the blockades on Monday and Tuesday have already caused tens of millions of euros in damages.

A spokesman for the Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel (CBL), a Dutch association that represents the interests of supermarkets and food service companies, claimed that tens of millions of euros were being lost and there was a risk that produce may spoil as it cannot be delivered, newspaper de Volkskrant reports.

Supermarket chains have also sounded alarms, with the chain Coop stating it is expecting to lose millions in revenue, while Lidl has claimed about half of its stores are having issues with filling their shelves, particularly with fresh vegetables, meat and fruit.

While farmers did end some of the blockades on Tuesday, such as in Almere at the Lidl distribution centre and in Raalte and Nijkerk, new blockades were enacted in Geldermalsen against a distribution centre for the chain Albert Heijn.

Agriculture Minister Henk Staghouwer and Nature and Nitrogen Policy Minister Christianne van der Wal, have both expressed concern over the blockades but assured the Dutch public that food supplies were not in any danger.

Minister Staghouwer also claimed that food supplies would not be threatened by the climate change policies the farmers are protesting, while the farmers themselves have claimed the proposal to cut emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia by 50 per cent by 2030 could destroy their livelihoods as some expect the government to simply buy out cattle farms and close them.

Around 30 per cent of the livestock farms in the country could be shut down in order to cut nitrogen emissions by 70 per cent in areas near conservation areas.

So far the protests have seen some clashes, with police using teargas and dogs to break up some protests and made several arrests on Monday outside of a Lidl distribution centre in Heerenveen.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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