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05 Nov 2020, 14:17
Benjamin Wehrmann

German farmers understand need for climate action, seek economically viable solutions - association

Clean Energy Wire

German farmers have understood the need for making agriculture more sustainable and integrate food production in the country's broader climate action efforts, the German Farmers’ Association (DBV) has said. Farmers are looking for ways to improve the climate impact of fodder production, livestock breeding and land use, but still are struggling to identify economically viable concepts to implement new ideas, DBV's Hubertus Beringmeier said at an online meeting of the farmers’ association and the Federal Office of Agriculture and Food (BLE.) He called for easing regulation on building modernisation and other "transitional solutions" to allow farmers to reform their business without having to face sudden transition risks. Moreover, the DBV warned against carbon leakage effects that could occur if production processes are moved abroad. "These are questions that no farmer can answer by himself," said BLE head Hanns-Christoph Eiden, which is why farmers should connect in networks and collaborate in their quest for promising solutions.

State secretary Jochen Flasbarth of the environment ministry (BMU) at a different event awarded several trial projects to better link environmental protection and agriculture in the context of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity initiative. Flasbarth said the projects show that environmental protection and agricultural production can go hand in hand and that the farmers' contributions had to be "appreciated and rewarded accordingly," for which the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP) reform could offer many opportunities.

In a bid to improve the agriculture sector's environmental impact, Germany in September launched a commission tasked with drawing up recommendations for a productive and resource-efficient industry model. Farmers across the country last year joined large-scale protests, arguing they are being portrayed as reckless polluters of the climate and soils even though they themselves are among the businesses hit the hardest by extreme weather induced by global warming. 

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