From January 1, the government will increase the NVWA tariffs for the agricultural sector. From 100 to 130 million euros. The Central Organization for the Meat Sector (COV) does not agree with these new rates and sends the below press release entitled ‘Cabinet strikes again at agriculture with extreme NVWA rates’.
On 1 January, the government unilaterally introduces a tax increase of 30 million euros for the agricultural sector. On that day, the contribution that farmers, growers, breeders, fishermen, processing industries and importers and exporters of agricultural products must pay to the Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority (NVWA) is increased from 100 million to 130 million euros per year. year.
This 30 percent tax increase comes on top of the huge inflation that businesses in the agricultural sector are already experiencing. This will put further pressure on the income of farmers, gardeners, fishermen and other agricultural entrepreneurs. And food prices will continue to rise.
Fight for the prices
There has been a battle over the NVWA’s rates for years. European rules indicate which costs the state must pass on to business. The entrepreneurs believe that the NVWA is charging much more than is allowed. There is currently a lawsuit pending on this. The Trade and Industry Complaints Board (CBB) will deal with this in December this year.
To make NVWA rates transparent and acceptable, the government and the agricultural sector started the NVWA cost price and tariff revision program in early 2022. Halfway through the implementation of this program, the Minister of Agriculture suddenly announced new NVWA rates. This deviates from the agreed programme. The new rates are certainly not acceptable to the agricultural sector.
Minister LNV is pushing tariffs unilaterally
Minister of Agriculture Piet Adema makes a major slip in one of his first letters to the House of Representatives (Tarieven 2023 NVWA, 11 November 2022). In the letter announcing the new NVWA tariffs, he pretends that there has been proper consultation with the agricultural sector. And he pretends to fulfill the wishes of agriculture to a large extent. That is definitely not true.
The agricultural sector has strongly opposed the unilateral introduction of new NVWA rates from 1 January 2023. The decisions of the CBB should be taken into account when setting the new rates. Agreements must also be made to guarantee the effectiveness of the NVWA. European rules stipulate that the government cannot simply pass its burdens onto the companies.
Agreements on efficiency improvement incentives have not yet been fulfilled. And the 30% cost increase is too much. For many companies, this means a 30 to 50% increase on the various services they purchase from NVWA. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality ignored all objections and just marched on. To get the new rates through the House of Representatives, the coalition parties reached an agreement before Minister Adema sent his letter to the House. Little is left of the ‘new management culture’ that Prime Minister Rutte promised.
Confidence to zero
The agricultural sector’s trust in the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and NVWA has now dropped to zero. Representatives of the various sectoral parties expect entrepreneurs to raise massive objections to the NVWA invoices because it is doubtful whether they comply with European rules.
Sector parties still hope to reach good agreements on efficiency incentives and insight into the effectiveness of the NVWA, but fear that these will eventually also have to be enforced through the (European) legal system. Perhaps Parliament can bring the minister for LNV to the fore, but then the minister and coalition parties must dare to let go of the backroom deals.
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