30 Jun 2023, 12:18
Julian Wettengel

EU climate policy must put more focus on food security – German farmers

Clean Energy Wire / Dlf / taz

German farmers have called on the EU to put more emphasis on food security in its "Green Deal" strategy to become climate neutral by 2050. The farmers' association (DBV) said EU climate policies must be adapted to the new realities resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In a declaration agreed at this year’s “Farmers Day”, DBV said: “The European proposals for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation (SUR) and the Nature Restoration Law are unsuitable plans for the challenges of the era.” It was “not acceptable that Europe is dragging its feet while the rest of the world is consistently tackling the task of food security,” it said. The war pushed food security to the top of the agenda, as crucial supply from Ukraine could not be transported to other countries. Farmers said they are facing up to the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, but agriculture had to be competitive and economically sustainable. They demanded the inclusion of food supply security into Germany’s Basic Law, as well as more support for climate-friendly farming like humus-amplifying measures in crop cultivation or “climate-efficient” livestock farming.

The Nature Restoration Law is currently being hotly debated at the EU level and is set for a crucial vote in the European Parliament in July. It mandates the restoration of at least 20 percent of the EU’s degraded land and seas by 2030. Food supply around the world is responsible for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions and needs to undergo big changes in the coming years.

At the conference, agriculture minister Cem Özdemir addressed farmers' worries over the speed of the transition and its cost: “Yes, we need to bring about change to preserve livelihoods and economic viability,” but change had to come step by step to guarantee planning security and a reliable framework, he said. Özdemir added that farmers need financial support for the transition. He also said European competitors like Spain had to face the necessary changes in agriculture before long, due to its “dramatic problems regarding water supply and climate.” In an interview with public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, Özdemir had said that the government was already putting up a lot of financial support into the sector within Germany, but “I don't believe that we will have to solve all the consequences of the climate crisis with state money.”

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