Rukwied sure of himself when it comes to nutrition, genetic engineering and animal welfare

In view of the Ukraine crisis, do we need a radical change in agricultural policy? The president of the German Farmers’ Association (DBV), Joachim Rukwied, put this question to delegates at the general assembly in Lübeck on Tuesday. And immediately he gave a clear answer: No.

It is important to further develop the processing process, climate protection and animal husbandry. Farmers in Germany are already the most sustainable farmers, but Rukwied wants more. However, there is one thing that is urgently needed. “We have to make adjustments and make one or the other better, more practical,” the farmer said in his speech. He asked the politicians that some would have to jump the hurdles.

In this context, he quoted Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock as saying that policy would have to change if the situation were to change. This is exactly what is required now: while the policy in Berlin and the trade policy have already adapted to the new situation, the agricultural policy sticks to the CAP decisions from before the war. Rukwied therefore calls for these to be urgently adjusted and for much more attention to be paid to food safety.

Controversial issue of land withdrawal

To date, the DBV has made offers, for example, for non-productive areas. As is well known, the EU is asking for 4% of the areas to be reserved in 2023, and in reality a maximum of 2% is added due to existing strips and riparian programs. France, for its part, released more than 1,000 ha for cultivation by decree.

“Russia uses food as a weapon, as a sword, and we can blunt it. If we release only 2% and that across the EU, that means every tonne of wheat weakens the aggressor. I hope that politicians use this instrument,” Rukwied exclaimed to applause. The DBV supports all sanctions against Russia. The Ukraine war focused on food security and agriculture.

Support GAP goals, but implementation is not good

The representative of the association sees it the same way with agrarian reform: Farm to Fork and GreenDeal are correct and DBV supports them. But here, too, Rukwied sees a readjustment as necessary.

“We want further protection of species and further development of animal husbandry. But we want sensible measures that can be integrated into companies. I don’t want another unproductive percentage. I am a farmer, I want to produce food”, Rukwied clarified. He maintains the objectives, but we must talk about the measures and the design of the agrarian reform.

The farmers’ representative recalled a study according to which researchers had calculated a reduction in production in EU agriculture of 10-15%. This is not acceptable.

Use the possibilities of genetic engineering

Rukwied would like more decisions based on science and the smart use of new technologies. Farmers wanted to reduce pesticides, but to do so they needed the opportunity to work with a host of new techniques. He cited CRISPR/Cas as an example. Here the “German anguish” had to be overcome. “Agriculture is not possible without crop protection, regardless of whether it is conventional or organic,” says Rukwied. Also, the plants would have to be fed as needed by fertilization.

In his subsequent speech, the President emphasized the willingness to talk. For example, the FRANZ project and the Commission on the Future of Agriculture are always in close contact with conservationists and critics of nature. The initiatives in Lower Saxony and Brandenburg show that the policy towards farmers is exemplary. “We will eliminate conflicting targets and will definitely continue down this path. We can bear it,” said the farmer.

Funding for more animal welfare is still unclear

Animal husbandry threatens to break your back; especially in pig farming, Rukwied continued. Only thanks to farmers’ associations was Corona aid possible, which ensured the survival of some farms. The DBV is concerned that Spain has increased its pig population by 3.5 million animals. German headlines also urgently need prospects.

In this context, the farmers’ representative expressly welcomed the breeding levels announced by the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Cem Özdemir. “But that is too little. Funding needs to start, the FDP is currently failing.” Rukwied is demanding €4bn for farmers to convert stables and plan for safety over 20 years.

Information on the criteria also needs to be exchanged, because “some things” are missing, in particular an indication of origin. The DBV gives the EU until the end of the year to introduce it in Europe. If not, the federal government must create its own. “Why should piglets castrated without anesthesia get an animal welfare label?” he asked, insisting on an EU-wide solution.

In any case, it would also be necessary to include food retailers, system restoration and processed products. Also, Özdemir would have to quickly move on to beef when marking the calf.

Consumers need to get involved

Last but not least, consumers should also implement what they always say in surveys when they buy. “At the moment, there is some local welfare meat and vegetable left on the shelves,” laments Rukwied, who strongly condemns dumping offers in food retail. “If retailers are serious about regional and seasonal produce, then they have to shop here too!” Politicians can provide support and start with schools and soup kitchens.

The DBV believes that strong external protection is necessary so that good, sustainably produced food is not undermined from the outside.

More annoyances and demands

  • Fertilization: In the rest of his speech, Rukwied went into the red areas, which he felt were too loosely chosen. The polluter pays principle should be applied here. And where the Nmin values ​​in the area fit, it should also be allowed to apply fertilizer as needed.
  • Minimum salary: The increase threatens the production of fruits and vegetables to migrate abroad. Therefore, DBV calls for a minimum wage that is uniform across the EU to create a level playing field.
  • Energy: When it comes to gas supply, prioritization is urgently needed for agriculture and the processing industry, such as the dairy or sugar industries, but also for fertilizer manufacturers. Without fertilizers there is a risk of 30% yield losses next year. Rukwied cannot understand why the price of fertilizer is currently so high. He suspects the manufacturers are lining their pockets. The cartel office would have to take a closer look.
  • Communication: Rukwied praised DBV’s successes in communication, be it internally in various WhatsApp groups, virtual conferences, etc. or externally, for example, through a high presence on television. They want to expand this further because communication is the key to success.
  • Feminine: With the creation of the specialist committee of women entrepreneurs, the DBV took a very controversial special path. With the change of statutes, Susanne Schulze Bockeloh could also become DBV’s vice president in the second half of the year.

Leave your vote

Leave a Comment

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.