In a written question to Agriculture Minister Hilda Krewitz (CD&V), Koenigracht asked about a possible framework that could be put in place for this. In her answer, the Minister stated that in the future more innovative technologies will be taken into consideration at the farm level, not just at the barn level. To this end, a modified selection system is being developed within the Flemish Agricultural Investment Fund (VLIF).
“A choice could be made to make investment support percentages based on environmental sustainability, which is already an important selection criterion at the moment,” Krevits explains. “Investments that provide a clear environmental benefit, but have little or no economic added value to the company, can be supported in the highest category of support percentages. Within the VLIF project support for innovation in agriculture, where the innovation criterion is high, I would call for particular attention to the intervention in scaling costs” .
By analogy with the Netherlands, where companies can test new technologies in a regulatory environment, Crevits also plans to give more room for experimentation. “One of the proposals in the final PAS is to grant ‘test hangar status’ for new barn technology,” the minister explains. However, the emission reduction potential of this technology must first be evaluated.
In addition, low-cost monitoring technologies for air emissions in housing systems are being evaluated. “The new sensing and measurement systems are being tested in practice to be able to reflect air emissions in housing systems,” says Krevits. “It is very important that we can reliably estimate the impact of air emissions from livestock farms in the context of environmental policy. Then I think about permitting or enforcement.”
According to Königrachts, the minister’s answer to his question is promising. “I am in favor of identifying these innovative technologies so that farmers have legal certainty for their investment,” he concludes.
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