MIL-OSI Translation: Özdemir: Compromise in favor of food security

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MIL OSI translation. Region: Germany/Germany –

Source: Federal Ministry of Food and AgricultureReleased on Aug 06, 2022 in the format of press release no. 110/2022

Proposal to the federal states: Established biodiversity areas remain protected, exception possible in the case of crop rotation changes

The Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, yesterday submitted to the federal states his proposal for the implementation of the Commission’s decision to suspend crop rotation and set-aside poorest in the world. At the same time, hunger is greatest where the climate crisis has already hit hard. For me, therefore, every measure to solve a crisis must be checked to ensure that it does not exacerbate another.

Federal Minister Özdemir explains his compromise proposal on crop rotation and set-asideAgriculture in Germany has made an offer to calm the grain markets by maintaining production. The EU created the framework for implementation last week. Yesterday I submitted my decision to the federal states on the Commission’s proposal to suspend set-aside and crop rotation in Germany in 2023. Our farmers need planning security as to what they can sow in a few weeks. I have therefore decided to take up the offer and at the same time not to make any deterioration in terms of species protection and climate protection. What I am proposing is a compromise that also hurts in one place or another, because it provides for the additional species protection areas that were actually planned only to be introduced in 2024. In 2023, the farmers can then continue to grow food on these areas. Biodiversity areas and landscape elements that are already established and have long served to protect species remain untouched and must not be broken up. After all, they are already making a valuable contribution to species and climate protection and to sustainable agriculture. I am pleased that the EU has followed my suggestion and is allowing an exception when changing crop rotations. In this way, our farmers will once again be able to plant wheat on wheat in the coming year. I have now proposed this to the federal states as well. This is the best way to keep grain yields stable in Germany and thus contribute to the stability of the world markets. I take everyone at their word: I make this compromise for the sake of the plate, not so that grain ends up in the tank or trough – and ours The exception expressly only applies to 2023. I also take everyone at their word and also hold them to duty. Because the countries still have to agree to this compromise. It is also clear to me that I will not sign any regulation that uses world hunger as an argument to produce more for tank and trough and to fall behind what we have already achieved in terms of species protection :The first mandatory set-aside is to be suspended in the coming year. Instead, agricultural cultivation should continue to be possible, but only of grain (without corn), sunflowers and legumes (without soybeans). This only applies to the areas that were not already designated as fallow farmland in 2021 and 2022. The existing biodiversity areas will thus continue to be protected and can provide their services for nature and species conservation as well as sustainable agriculture. Scientific calculations assume that around 100,000 to 180,000 hectares of arable land will continue to be available for grain production. This means that around 600,000 to one million tons of additional grain can be produced. The regulation on crop rotation is to be suspended once in 2023. This means that farmers in Germany can continue to grow wheat after wheat in 2023. In previous years, this was the case on around 380,000 hectares. According to scientific calculations, up to 3.4 million tons more wheat could be produced with this. Background If farms make use of EU agricultural subsidies, they must also in 2023 “Standards for the maintenance of land in good agricultural and ecological condition” (short GAEC ) retain. These include crop rotation on arable land, i.e. the annual change of main crop (GAEC 7) and a conversion of a minimum of four percent of arable land to biodiversity areas (GAEC 8).Against the background of the effects of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the European Commission has Member States are given the opportunity to exceptionally relax the GAEC 7 and GAEC 8 standards for food production in 2023: This gives the possibility to suspend mandatory crop rotation. The obligation to four percent non-productive areas can also be suspended in 2023 in favor of cultivation (except for maize, soybeans and short-rotation plantations – these are fast-growing trees with the aim of producing wood chips within a short period of time). GAEC 8 consists of other parts, an obligation to preserve landscape elements such as hedges, shrubs and copses, as well as a ban on cutting hedges and trees, for example, at certain times. These two aspects are expressly not covered by the EU Commission’s exemption. The Member States must notify the Commission of their decision by August 28 at the latest if they make use of the exemption. If there is no notification of the application of the derogation, provisions for GAEC 7 and 8 apply. The decision enables farmers to make a contribution to global food security on their fields. Farmers who instead want to provide services for climate and species protection as part of EU agricultural funding can continue to apply the regulations on crop rotation and set-aside that will apply from 2023 – there is no obligation to apply the exception regulations. Published on 06 Aug 2022 in Format press release

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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