On September 25, 2023, the agri-food industry called upon the Flemish Parliament to reconsider the currently proposed nitrogen decree, citing concerns about its potentially

devastating impact, including the potential loss of a third of jobs within the sector.

Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon presented his traditional September statement to the parliament on Monday, outlining the forthcoming year's crucial policies and budget plans.

One of the most contentious issues currently facing the Flemish government revolves around how to address nitrogen emissions originating from both agriculture and industry. After months of divisive negotiations, a nitrogen decree was submitted to the Flemish Parliament in July.

While Jambon briefly touched upon this issue in his speech, the decree remains pending advice from the Council of State. Despite this, the agri-food industry sought to raise awareness of the matter through a lighthearted demonstration near the parliament.

Prior to the September declaration, industry representatives presented Members of the European Parliament with dishes reminiscent of those depicted in Pieter Brueghel's renowned painting, "The Peasant Wedding." They contend that the proposed nitrogen decree poses a significant threat to "a third of the jobs in the sector."

"This situation has generated considerable uncertainty and concern across numerous farms and throughout the agri-food industry," they asserted. Consequently, the industry is calling for the decree to be urgently revised, along with a comprehensive socio-economic impact assessment.