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Monday, July 15, 2024

Farmers furious over subsidy offer

Norway’s farmers are the most heavily subsidized in Europe if not the world, but they’re still not satisfied. Now their demands for hefty increases in pay and protective tariffs, to keep out imports, have been cut by two-thirds in what they call a clear provocation from the government.

The farmers wanted another NOK 2.6 billion in taxpayer support this year. The government offered NOK 1 million. That still amounts to an average pay raise of NOK 17,000 a year per full-time farming job.

The state thinks that’s a good offer, not least since state officials are keen to try avoid more food price rises for Norwegian consumers who already pay among the highest grocery bills in the world. The farmers complain that the offer is so poor that more farmers will stop farming.

“If we decide not to negotiate, we’ll have to live with the offer from the state,” farmers’s leader Nils T Bjørke told newspaper Aftenposten. “And then the state must take responsibility for the future of agriculture in Norway.”

If the farmers decide to try negotiating a better offer, the talks must conclude by May 16.

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