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Farmer Protests Disrupt Belgian Supermarkets’ Supply Chain *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Feb 01, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , ,

Protesting farmers have blocked the distribution centers of Colruyt, one of Belgium’s biggest supermarket chains, a spokesperson confirmed, while local media reported that distribution centers of discount supermarket chain Lidl were also targeted.

The blockades have led to disruptions in the supply chain.

Belgian press agency Belga reported that farmers had entered a Lidl distribution center. Reuters could not immediately confirm this with the supermarket.

Farmers across numerous European countries have taken to the streets and blocked roads and highways to voice their discontent about pay, taxes and green rules as well as unfair competition from abroad.

Centers located in Ollignies, Ghislenghien and Halle in central western Belgium, which supply Colruyt’s Belgian shops with fresh and frozen products, dry food, water and drinks, were no longer accessible.

“At the moment, stock is still available in our shops … (but) it is inevitable that products will eventually be missing from the shelves,” Colruyt said in a statement, adding that it was difficult to make definitive statements on timing as shops have different product levels.

“Colruyt Group has always focused on sourcing locally as much as possible and succeeds very well in this for many categories,” the store chain said. It added that it understood farmers’ concerns but did not see blockades as a solution.

The group in a separate statement said that almost 100% of its meat, milk and eggs comes from Belgium as well as 75% of its fruits and vegetables.

Colruyt Group operates in food and non-food sectors in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, with more than 700 owned stores and approximately 580 affiliated outlets and employs more than 32,000 employees across the markets in which it operates

Its food retail unit operating in Belgium and Luxembourg generated 3.54 billion euros of revenue in the first half of its shifted 2023-2024 financial year.

(Reporting by Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Toby Chopra, David Evans and Mark Porter)

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