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Monday, June 17, 2024
HomeGovernance and SocietyVideo: Farmers descend on Tórshavn to protest land reform bill

Video: Farmers descend on Tórshavn to protest land reform bill

A highly noticeably demonstration took place earlier this week when a sizable convoy of tractors rolled in to the Faroese capital Tórshavn to protest against a land reform bill that farmers claim threatens their way of life and even their livelihoods.

According to reports, 33 tractors were counted. The convoy drove into central Tórshavn, passing by Tinghúsið, the seat of the Løgting, the Faroese Parliament, before parking at Vaglið next to Tinghúsið.

“I think our message was heard loud and clear,” said Sigert Patursson, chairman of the Farmers’ Union. “We’re very pleased with the level of support we received from bystanders and people who turned up at the event. Also we held constructive conversations with lawmakers and government ministers so that hopefully they will take note and revise the reform bill as it has been tabled at this stage.”

The 33 tractors that gathered on March 19th represent a large proportion of the total fleet of tractors that are actively used by farmers across the Faroe Islands, according to Mr. Patursson.

“We were well represented with most of the country’s commercial farmers gathered alongside supporters and spectators,” he added.

“For us it’s essential to point out that our farms are commercial assets for us and that we’re the ones operating them. Allowing strangers to enter is subject to our consent. The main problem with this reform bill is that it violates the rights of farmers. The bill seeks to prevent farmers from selling access to tourists, regardless of the fact that this trade represents an important contribution to our livelihood. For tourists to experience the great views offered in many places on the islands, making use of our farm land can be required; so it’s only reasonable that we charge a fee for that in each case. However this reform bill does not take into consideration our interests in this respect.”

“Unfortunately, in the political debate, two separate issues have been intertwined and tangled together—on the one hand, the current tradition and well established practice that the people of the Faroe Islands are free to enter our farm land and roam everywhere within reason, subject to our consent, which is by default given in most cases; and on the other, the question of tourism. Those are two entirely different subjects and should be treated as such.”

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