Several supermarkets in Belgium will increase the prices they pay to beef producers from Monday. As in other European countries, farmers in Belgium have been protesting against stricter environmental regulations, rising costs and a lack of recognition.
In response to the farmers' protests, Belgium has set up a task force where ministers, farmers and distributors will meet to discuss prices and the distribution of profit margins between various players in the supply chain.
Delhaize, Colruyt and Lidl are among the supermarkets that will implement the price increase. "This is a good step," said Marianne Streel of the Walloon agricultural organisation FWA at the entrance to the first meeting of the task force.
Delhaize said it would increase the purchase price of beef for six months starting Monday. The supermarket chain would not say by how much, but said the increase would be "substantial". Customers will not notice the price change in the shops. Delhaize said it had chosen beef "because this is the sector that is currently most affected".
Colruyt said the adjustment would affect the price of bulls from Monday. "As always, we will evaluate our new approach in about three months' time," Colruyt said in a statement. Colruyt did not say whether the higher prices for farmers would be reflected in higher prices in the shops.
Lidl is also increasing the price it pays to beef suppliers, the company confirmed. What effect this will have on store prices "remains to be seen," said spokesperson Isabelle Colbrandt.
The task force meetings will be chaired by Federal minister for Agriculture, David Clarinval. Some 30 people are taking part, and several preparatory meetings have already been held this week.