Agriculture struggles with growing climate risks

Agriculture struggles with growing climate risks

In view of the growing climate risks for german farmers, grunen boss robert habeck calls for agriculture to be adapted more strongly to climate change.

Water shortages and hot temperatures are an increasingly pressing problem for farmers, "and no one can turn a blind eye to it," habeck told the deutsche presse agency. "The extreme becomes the rule. And that changes the basic assumptions on which farming has been done so far."In order to master the situation, it is high time to tackle the adaptation of agriculture to the climate crisis – both in the cultivation of plants and in animal husbandry.

For example, mixed instead of monocultures, more diverse crop rotations with plants that are resistant to heat and drought, more trees on agricultural land, different sowing and harvesting dates and more organic farming are needed, habeck said. Livestock numbers had to be reduced so that a farm only had as many animals as it could basically feed with the yield from its land. "The goal is fewer animals, but more space and good care," he said. In the summer of 2018, the feed supply for the animals was insufficient and there were emergency slaughters.

The day before, at the presentation of the harvest balance sheet, farmers’ association president joachim rukwied had drawn attention to the higher risks farmers face due to climate change. They relied on soil-conserving practices and resistant species and breeds. But he also called for government help in setting up "multi-peril insurance" to protect farmers.

The climate policy spokesman for the left in the bundestag, lorenz gosta beutin, had then demanded that the state should not leave farmers "sitting on their hands dry" any longer. In addition to emergency state aid for climate damage, climate insurance had to be subsidized. The majority of farmers could not afford the expensive insurances so far. In return, agriculture must invest even more in climate protection.

Gero hocker, the agricultural policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, had called for "decisive action" – such as the "consistent demand for digital technologies" and a tax-free risk compensation levy, which the farmers’ association has long been calling for. In addition, the approval of modern pesticides had to be accelerated and modern genetic engineering methods had to be advanced.

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