A demonstration by young Belgian farmers in front of a slaughterhouse in Brussels did not leave its mark on the government, which is remaining steadfast, but it did capture the attention of the Flemish media.
40% of Flemish sow producers have a backlog of six months in payments to their banks. Producers who have been clients of a particular bank for a long time can apply for bridging loans, however, for young or more recent farmers, this is not the case.
For the last year and a half, pig prices have been very low. At present, there is talk of the industry reaching its lowest ebb as prices have dropped to €0.91 per kilo.
As in neighbouring EU countries, the result of such decreases in price is that many pig businesses have gone broke. Prices only rise in cases where more producers leave the industry.
For those farmers who carry on despite the difficulties, the banks must become more flexible.
It is expected that the number of pig producers mainly in the western part of Flanders will continue to drop. For a young farmer, this involves taking over a farm and adapting it to the current competitive climate with an extra expense of around €1.25m. Sadly, most young farmers do not have access to this kind of money!