“Commentary on Agriculture: Farmers Are Not Coal Miners”

by | Jan 8, 2024 | German Daily Digest | 0 comments

The Importance of Supporting Farmers in Germany

In recent years, farmers in Germany, especially in the state of Saxony, have been heavily reliant on subsidies due to insufficient market prices. The abrupt removal of these subsidies has caused significant concern and anxiety among farmers, who fear the impact it could have on their livelihoods. Farms in Saxony, like many others across the country, rely on subsidies such as the 21-cent subsidy per liter of diesel, which may seem modest at first glance. However, for a medium-sized agricultural operation, this subsidy represents thousands of euros in support per year. Such a loss cannot be easily offset by selling a new specialty cheese in the farm shop, which is a challenge that many farmers face.

Image source: Sächsische.de

The federal government’s recent cost-cutting efforts, such as the removal of all energy price brakes, the reintroduction of full value-added tax for restaurateurs, and reduced subsidies for farmers, impact almost everyone. However, it is crucial that these austerity measures do not push an entire profession into a state of existential crisis. Agriculture is a vital industry, and farmers play a crucial role in providing us with essential products such as apples, bread, and butter. They are not merely coal miners, whose industry must end due to its environmental and climate risks, but rather indispensable contributors to society.

The Challenges Faced by Farmers

Saxony’s farmers are facing multiple challenges beyond economic uncertainties. Fluctuating market prices for agricultural products, including the ongoing volatility in the pork industry, pose significant pressures on farmers. While the past two years have seen some increase in food prices, farmers cannot rely on continuous upward trends in market prices. Uncertainties such as increasing periods of drought, shifting consumer preferences towards alternative food products, and the implementation of agricultural reforms further compound the challenges faced by farmers in Saxony.

Subsidies play a crucial role in supporting farmers in the state. According to the latest agricultural report, nearly half of their income in 2021 came from subsidies. Abruptly reducing such government assistance could have severe consequences for the stability of their operations and overall livelihoods.

The Need for Long-Term Planning and Support

“Landwirte sind keine Kohlekumpel. The Braunkohleverbrennung in Sachsen muss enden, weil sie Umwelt und Klima gefährdet.”

It is essential to recognize that supporting and investing in agriculture is crucial for the future. Farmers are working hard to ensure we have an abundant supply of locally produced apples, bread, and butter. While it is frustrating that retail prices are not sufficient and must be supplemented by complicated subsidy processes through the European Union, any efforts to make substantial changes must be approached with a well-planned and long-term strategy.

Supporting agriculture in Saxony and beyond is not only a means of safeguarding farmers’ livelihoods but also essential for ensuring food security and promoting sustainable practices. Continued investment and strategic planning are necessary to address the challenges faced by farmers, safeguard the future of our agricultural industry, and guarantee the availability of high-quality, locally sourced products for consumers.

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