Russia’s war against Ukraine also has far-reaching consequences for the food markets: consumer prices are rising, as are various costs for the farms. How are politicians and the industry reacting to this?
The effects of the Ukraine war on agricultural markets and food prices are key issues at the German Farmers’ Day, which begins on Tuesday (12:30 p.m.) in Lübeck. Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir is also expected to attend.
Many farms are struggling with the sharp rise in energy and fertilizer costs, as explained by the farmers’ association. Against this background, groceries in the supermarket have also become more expensive. In view of the lack of grain exports from Ukraine, a shortage of supplies is also expected in some states.
At the two-day farmer’s day with around 450 delegates, discussions should therefore also be held about alleviating the tense situation with higher production in Germany. The farmers’ association spoke out in favor of using additional areas for growing food. Among other things, Özdemir made it possible for grass and plants from certain “ecological priority areas” to be used as fodder in exceptional cases. However, the Greens politician is opposed to further calls from the federal states to also grow grain on fallow land.
Rejection of pesticides “ideological”?
The co-governing FDP generally demanded more room for maneuver for the farmers. “Farmers are entrepreneurs who can contribute equally to food security and the achievement of climate and sustainability goals,” said FDP agricultural expert Gero Hocker. To do this, they need space for independent operational decisions and the right tools. Among other things, an ideological rejection of modern pesticides set the industry back. “Even against the background of an impending hunger crisis in the world, this state of affairs is no longer morally tenable.” More sustainability cannot be achieved with state transfer payments, but through impulses and funding.
In addition to the acute crisis, other projects are pending. After years of discussions, Özdemir has started a new attempt for a state animal husbandry label for meat. In addition, there should also be secure financing so that farmers are not left alone to invest in more animal welfare in the barn. “We must not let farmers down when converting animal husbandry,” said Özdemir of the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Tuesday). “You can’t just redeem the costs for more species-appropriate animal husbandry and more climate protection overnight on the market, as some think,” explained Özdemir.
According to the recommendations of a commission of experts, a higher VAT rate or a tax on animal products are under discussion. A surcharge of 40 cents per kilo of meat would be conceivable. In the coalition, however, it crunched recently. The FDP made it clear that, in view of the inflation, it rejects price surcharges for consumers.
Özdemir told the “Rheinische Post” (Tuesday) that many food price increases were yet to come. “We have to expect increases in autumn and winter because the trade now has to supply itself with expensive energy and the price increases are passed on to customers.”