Farmers in Germany call for large protests against environmental policies
Clean Energy Wire / Tageszeitung (taz)
Up to 10,000 farmers and 700 tractors are expected to be present at protests against German environmental and agricultural policies next week, writes the daily tageszeitung (taz), referring to figures from the protests' organisers. The farmers' movement 'Land schafft Verbindung' has criticised the government's agricultural package for "endangering family farms" and accused politicians and NGOs of promoting negative propaganda and "farmer-bashing". The movement also argued that the new EU-Mercosur trade agreement with South American states "endangers the supply of safe, high-quality and tested regional food through cheap imported goods" and that a tightened fertiliser ordinance would lead to under-fertilisation of soils. Germany's largest environmental organisation NABU criticised the call for protests, which was supported by the climate change-denying, far-right AfD party. The movement claims to be independent while taz reports it to be supported by the farmers' association of Schleswig-Holstein.
Over half of Germany's land area (51%) is used for farming purposes. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture amounted to 65 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 2016. The sector has been affected by recent years' heat waves and droughts, leading the German Farmers' Association (DBV) to call for emergency aid last summer. In 2017, the national farmer association DBV said fulfilling the EU's climate protection standards in agriculture would cost German farmers over 300 million euros per year.