11 Apr 2022, 13:26
Julian Wettengel

Governments agree to preserve eco areas amid wheat supply worries

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s state governments have agreed not to use fallow land and special eco areas for regular food production and instead preserve them for biodiversity and climate action. Large farm operations have to set aside five percent of their land as so-called “ecological focus areas.” Whatever grows on these areas may normally not be used. It can be ploughed under for soil improvement. Farmers and several state agriculture ministers had called for using these areas to bolster grain production as Russia’s war against Ukraine threatens global supply and high prices this year. However, the Bundesrat (council of state governments) has reached a compromise, according to which crops or grass that grow on this land can be used as fodder. “Droughts bring hunger,” said agriculture minister Cem Özdemir. “And ploughing up fallow land, some of which has been set aside for years, releases additional CO2 – thus fuelling another driver of hunger,” climate change, he added.

In view of the war in Ukraine, the threat of crop failures and the supply shortages of grains looming in many parts of the world, the European Commission has as an exception allowed member states to cultivate fallow land, which is set aside to boost biodiversity and protect the climate.

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