Farmers’ association demands a say in insect protection plans

Farmers' association demands a say in insect protection plans

The german farmers association has called for a fundamental revision of the federal government’s plan for stronger protection of insects.

According to initial estimates, this would mean that farming on more than 2.3 million hectares could only be carried out "with considerable restrictions," warned association president joachim rukwied. There had been no consultation with farmers in the planning process.

Several hundred people, mainly farmers and dairy farmers, demonstrated on the fringes of the conference of agriculture ministers in mainz. The police spoke of up to 650 participants. "Environmental protection only works with us not against us" and "cooperation instead of bans" could be read on posters.

The federal cabinet has approved a package of regulations aimed at improving environmental protection in agriculture. This includes a ban on the particularly controversial weed poison glyphosate by the end of 2023. The use of weed and pest poisons is to be severely restricted overall. This is what an "insect protection action program" envisages, but it is not yet a law. This is to follow in the coming months.

Rhineland-palatinate’s agriculture minister and chairman of the conference of agriculture ministers, volker wissing, supported the farmers. Instead of presenting them with definitive facts, the farms had to be challenged more strongly, for example, in the use of new technologies. The FDP politician called for the establishment of a national agricultural and climate council to reconcile agricultural and environmental policy goals in dialogue. "At present, farmers are being presented with a fait accompli by political actionism. Farmers thus no longer have any planning certainty."

Wissing also criticized the "solo efforts of the federal ministry of agriculture," from the dung ordinance to the agricultural package of early september to the insect protection action program. "We need proper concepts, no quick fixes with media impact, no agricultural policy with the lawnmower."

Rukwied said agriculture supports insect conservation and biodiversity demands. But: "we want to maintain the principle of cooperation between agriculture and nature conservation and not call it into question through prohibitionist policies."

The nature conservation organization BUND criticized that the insect action program was not enough to initiate the necessary trend reversal. "The program is too vague in terms of the design of the measures, the objectives and timetables, as well as the financial framework."

BUND also called on the ministers of agriculture to make improvements to the federal government’s "unambitious" decisions on climate protection in agriculture. "The major climate construction sites in agricultural policy are a significant reduction in livestock numbers and the protection and rewetting of moorland sites", said BUND expert christian rehmer.