Farmers fear dying on farms 2

Farmers fear dying on farms

October 09, 2019, 6:53 pm

vineyard Farmers in the southwest want to take action against a referendum on bees. First of all, pesticides in protected areas should be completely banned, farmers say. They collect signatures at their request.

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Cross in protest of petition protection. Farmers want to communicate their interests.

Photo: dpa

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Cross in protest of petition protection. Farmers want to communicate their interests.

Photo: dpa

Farmers' associations see a large number of farms in the southwest endangered in their existence if the referendum on species protection is successful. "It cannot be done this way. We need to make sure that family-based agriculture has a future," State Farmers Association President Joachim Rukwied said in Weinsberg yesterday. More protection of species is possible only with regionally rooted agriculture, not against them.

40,000 signatures required

Four large agricultural associations want to bring their interests to a referendum and get state legislation to address the issue. For this to happen, alliances must collect 40,000 signatures and submit them on time.

"Save the Bees" Referendum

Two weeks ago, the referendum began under the motto "Save the Bees" in the southwest. Therefore, the proportion of areas in Baden-Württemberg where pesticides can be used will be halved by 2025. In landscape protected areas the use of pesticides should even be completely banned. Furthermore, the referendum plans to expand organic agriculture to 50 percent by 2035.

Initiators must collect about 770,000 signatures – roughly one in ten voters – in order to vote on a draft referendum law in Landtag. If Parliament rejects it, then a referendum should be held. In this case, the state parliament could oppose its own bill.

Farmers' fears

But agricultural associations do not want to go that far. They criticize that extending the pesticide ban to all protected areas would affect about 450,000 acres, or about 30 percent of the area used for agriculture in the southwest. "We are ready to do something to protect the species, but we must not put a gun to our chest," said Kilian Schneider, president of the Baden Wine Association. Werner Räpple, president of the Baden Agricultural Federation, warned that species conservation is a matter for everyone, not farmers.

"We want to further reduce the use of pesticides," Rukwied said. However, he did not want to name the target. Due to the already strong weather fluctuations, farmers should be able to make flexible decisions about pesticide use.

Issue pesticides

In general, farmers' associations are too focused on pesticide reduction. To be able to produce high-quality foods, "apples, berries, grapes or vegetables must be protected from pests and diseases," warned Franz Josef Müller, president of the National Fruit Production Association.

regulation

The state constitution provides for the possibility of a referendum. This must be followed by 0.5 percent of eligible voters. If these signatures come to light, the Stuttgart map is bound to address concerns about people’s requests. The content of a popular request can be a general subject of political decision-making. Content must be the responsibility of the national parliament. According to President of the Farmers Association Joachim Rukwied, the signing will begin on October 17. mouse

At the request of the people, farmers want to declare themselves on the protection of species, but also to ensure the conservation of farms. Rukwied spoke of "cooperative nature conservation" here.

The popular claim is based on ten points that must be placed before the Landtag. Among other things, more incentives should be created for greater protection of species in agriculture, instead of a ban, the state government should devise a strategy to reduce pesticides, research institutions should focus more on species loss, reduce land consumption and promote organic agriculture.

The CDU wants a roundtable

In the meantime, it calls for CDU parliamentary party leader Wolfgang Reinhart to set up a roundtable with everyone involved. "Quick shots don't take us any further," he said in Stuttgart yesterday. Here, thoroughness is about speed. Recently, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) called the referendum on species protection a threat to agriculture.


Comment: Existence is compromised

Baden-Wuerttemberg farmers are resisting a popular referendum, the implementation of which would literally be brought to their feet. If the initiators of the species protection initiative came across their request and the use of pesticides was banned in protected areas, this would be the end of a large number of fruit growers or even wine producers in Baden-Württemberg. Although there should be exceptions – they have not yet been defined. And should a farmer apply for any state pesticide application? Until this is addressed, pest infestation would surely progress so that the funds could remain on the shelf. Slowing down species loss and at the same time not destroying the existence of farmers – this is the right path.

When it comes to protecting nature and species, a holistic view is always needed. Because restrictive pesticide regulations in people's petitions actually come to fruition, the threatened court is dying. A fact that also prompted Prime Minister Kretschmann to warn of implementation. There is always one thing to keep in mind: If fruits and vegetables are no longer produced regionally, they should be imported from South America, Turkey or from Southern Europe. And that pesticides are used in some of these countries, which have long been banned in Germany, is also part of the truth. But this aspect the popular initiators of the initiative like to hide.

Farmers fear dying on farms 3

Michael Black

Main correspondent state policy

Michael Schwarz has been with Heilbronner Stimme since 2005. State government, state parliament, parties, political groups, politicians – Schwarz observes daily political actors in Stuttgart and asks them if they are doing a good job.