Netherlands and Germany tackle manure fraud

Minister for Agriculture Dijksma has made agreements with Germany to restrict manure fraud and combat the illegal trade in antibiotics and hormones in livestock farming. That was the result of the Dreiländertreffen in Berlin, a meeting with two of the Netherlands’ most important export destinations: North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

'Germany and the Netherlands have an important export relationship, particularly in terms of agriculture,” the Minister said “This is underlined by the extensive cooperation that has now been agreed to tackle cross-border problems such as manure fraud and the illegal trade in antibiotics.'

Manure

German arable farmers like to use Dutch manure because its mineral composition is known, as it is compulsory to report this in the Netherlands. However, it is now unclear what happens to the manure after it is transported across the border. The Dutch government will soon inform the House about a comprehensive enforcement approach to combat manure fraud. It is necessary to gain a greater insight into manure streams, which is why mandatory GPS systems will be part of this approach. In Germany there is less enforcement capacity to detect cases of manure fraud, and the country has no central data registration system. As a result, it is unclear what happens to the manure after it crosses the border. The illegal discharge of manure has various negative consequences, including on the quality of surface water. Experts from both countries are striving to harmonise transport data and legal processes by the autumn of 2014. The aim of these steps is to gain a greater insight into the use of manure across the border and to restrict fraud.

Antibiotics and hormones

Minister Dijksma also shared the Dutch approach to reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming in the Netherlands with German state ministers from North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. In recent years major progress has been made in the Netherlands to reduce the use of antibiotics, and in the four major livestock sectors it has been cut by half since 2009. Veterinarian guidelines for prescribing antibiotics have also been tightened in order to restrict the risks of developing antibiotic resistance. German and Dutch specialists will work together on a common approach for combating the illegal trade in antibiotics.