Nutrition: “Appreciating food as much as cars”: Özdemir against cheap prices

Cem Ozdemir

The new boss in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is setting the first steps.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir has declared war on cheap food prices: “I want us in Germany to value our great food as much as our great cars. Sometimes I have the feeling that a good engine oil is more important to us than a good salad oil, “said Özdemir of the” Bild “newspaper.

Farmers need more appreciation, “there must be no more junk prices for food, they are driving farms into ruin, preventing more animal welfare, promoting species extinction and polluting the climate,” said the former party leader.

Most recently, pork prices in particular have collapsed. But “no farming family can live” on a kilo price of four euros for minced meat, for example. It is true that food “should not become a luxury good, but the price must express the ecological truth more strongly”.

Özdemir promises three things: “Good income for our farmers, healthy food for everyone and more animal welfare, climate and environmental protection”. The number of animals must be based on the available space. He will base the investment subsidies on the keeping conditions in the stables.

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According to the coalition agreement, the proportion of organic agriculture is to increase from less than ten to 30 percent by 2030. To this end, the vegetarian Özdemir wants to “use the buying power of the state”: The state has to be a role model and convert catering in public facilities to more regionality and more organic.

Low spending on groceries

The last time the inflation rate, as measured by the consumer price index, rose to its highest level since June 1992. On average, the prices were a good five percent higher than a year earlier. The main price driver is energy for heating and transport, for which prices rose by a whopping 22 percent.

If these costs are excluded, consumer prices “only” rise by 3.4 percent. Measured against this, they climbed somewhat above average for food with 4.5 percent.

In general, however, the share of spending on food has fallen drastically: in 1960 households in Germany still spent 38 percent of their income on food and drink, in 1970 it was still a quarter. Since the turn of the millennium, the value has been steadily at 13 to 14 percent. Only in 2020 did it rise again to 15 percent.

In order to make the diet healthier, Özdemir wants the food industry to prescribe binding reduction targets for sugar, fat and salt, especially in finished products. Voluntary commitments would not have done enough. He also wants to ban advertising for unhealthy foods such as sweets, sodas and chips aimed at children.

Pesticides should be reduced

Özdemir’s party friend, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, has also announced a sharp reduction in the use of pesticides in agriculture in order to stop insect death. She wants to achieve this on the one hand through financial incentives, “but also through regulatory law,” said the newspapers of the Funke media group.

For decades, farmers have been forced into a predicament by the European agricultural policy, with farms growing and having to generate more income or being bought up. “We urgently have to get out of this system of simple area payments, which are paid without any ecological consideration,” said Lemke. The traffic light government will prepare this in the next four years.

Steffi Lemke

“We urgently have to get out of this system of the simple area payment, which is paid without any ecological consideration.”

(Photo: dpa)

The livestock population in Germany has decreased significantly in recent years. The number of pigs is lower than it has been in 25 years. The population was last at around 23.6 million animals, announced the Federal Statistical Office.

In 2020 alone, the population fell significantly by 9.4 percent or a good 2.4 million animals. At the same time, the number of businesses fell sharply, by almost eight percent to 18,800. At the same time, they got bigger and bigger: the average pig population has increased from 886 to 1254 animals since 2011.

The reason for the decline in the industry are the low pork prices in trade and export, which continue to fall due to a lack of demand. There were also declines in cattle, of which there were a good 11 million recently – 2.3 percent less than a year earlier – and dairy cows. Only the number of sheep has grown.

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