Farmers are under attack around the world but especially in the Netherlands at the moment.
Despite its small size, the Netherlands is the second largest food exporter in the world. At a time of global food shortages you would imagine that the Dutch Government would be protecting and promoting farming. As the slogan of the Dutch farmers says, "No Farmers, No Food."
But instead, cheered on by radical green activists, the Dutch are trying to shut farms down. In recent years, the Netherlands Parliament as seen the rise of radical environmentalists like the Party for the Animals and the Dutch Green party, GroenLinks.
The Party for the Animals ironically states in its platform "Livestock should be drastically reduced for the sake of the environment, nature, public health and animal welfare."
The GroenLinks spokesperson on nitrogen, Laura Bromet, mocked Dutch farmers displaying their flag this week tweeting that "Golden times for flag factories". She has shut down her twitter account due to the corresponding backlash.
Dutch farmers are protesting because a new law would force many of them off the land so that more houses and roads can be built while the Netherlands, as a whole, stays within strict nitrogen limits set by European laws. This started because a small environmental group, Mobilisation for the Environment, successfully sued the Dutch Government in the European Court of Justice in 2017 for insufficient limits on nitrogen.
In the years since the Dutch Government has developed plans to tighten limits on nitrogen which are a by-product of everything from transport to construction to agriculture. The Dutch Government plans to reduce agriculture's nitrogen emissions by 40 per cent. When asked whether the plans would require compulsory farm buy-outs, the responsible Dutch Minister said "I really can't rule it out."
Nitrogen is essential to plant growth, hence its presence in many fertilisers. As the United Nations Environment Program states "Fertilizer run-off can also cause algal blooms in lakes and waterways. Algal blooms emit greenhouse gases."
This brings us around to Sri Lanka. At last year's Glasgow Climate Conference the Sri Lankan Government organised an event to launch the #Nitrogen4NetZero initiative. According to the then Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the event "We require a new agricultural revolution that has sustainability at its core."
Well, Mr Rajapaksa has got revolution just probably not in the way he envisaged.
Last year Sri Lanka banned the import of all nitrogen based fertilisers as part of their plan to tackle climate change. The results have been disastrous. Rice and tea production fell 20 per cent and Sri Lanka has been robbed of the foreign income necessary to pay for fuel and other imports. Inflation has risen to over 50 per cent and Sri Lanka has defaulted on its foreign debt.
The people finally had enough in the past week and stormed the President and Prime Minister's homes. Both have now resigned and the country is in chaos.
If such attacks on farmers in countries as diverse as Sri Lanka and the Netherlands can happen, it can happen here too. On the eve of this year's election, the Labor party announced that it would establish an "independent environmental protection agency". This will be a massive green trojan horse to regulate farming and other industries.
On the Australian Greens website they say "To support farmers to reduce emissions, including through reducing usage of fossil fuels and nitrogen fertilisers." Just like in Sri Lanka and the Netherlands.
Some farm organisations still delude themselves into thinking they can negotiate with these radicals. It is time to fight back and defend Australian farmers and our food security before we end up with the failed policies of Sri Lanka and the Netherlands.