Protests in the Rhein-Erft district: farmers fight against new guidelines

“Actually, consumers should cry out,” said Veronika Kreyes (56) from Liblar. She had come to the farmers’ event on a field near Gymnich to find out about the European Commission’s plans.

The EU wants to completely ban pesticides in protected zones. According to the LSV (Land creates connection) association, the use of pesticides on all other cultivated areas should be reduced by 50 percent by 2030. The association and the farmers strictly reject this, as well as other provisions of the proposed regulation, which they consider impractical.

100 farmers from the Rhein-Erft district were there

In order to draw attention to the problem, the LSV had called for information events throughout Germany. A good 100 farmers from the district came together in Erftstadt. Veronika Kreyes also learned from them that the EU decision could mean the end for many family farms.

Alexander Moll (29) from Kerpen fears that around 90 percent of the areas are affected. He grows vegetables, potatoes, strawberries and cereals on 80 hectares. “The vast majority of crops will not thrive without preservatives,” he explained. The fields would become weedy, fungal diseases would have free rein, reduced yields and crop failures would be the result. “I could close the yard my grandfather built,” said Moll.

The farmers also protested against the EU plans with banners on their farm tractors.

“This means that consumers are deprived of every opportunity to buy regional products in farm shops,” criticized Kreyes. She fears that even more food will be imported from cheaply producing non-EU countries. “That also creates new dependencies.”

Farmers speak of a serious situation

Farmers in the Rhein-Erft district classify the situation as “very serious”. They estimate that more than 60 percent of their agricultural land is in protected areas. If the bill were to be passed, the entire acreage of Stefan Köllen (58) from Balkhausen would be affected: He grows wheat, barley, sugar beets and corn on 100 hectares, and also farms grassland.

“With the requirements and restrictions in fertilizer and plant protection, we can’t manage either the quantity or the quality to produce bread wheat, for example,” he explained.

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More than 100 farmers from the Rhein-Erft district took part in the protest against the EU Commission’s draft resolution.

Farmer Martin Richrath from Dirmerzheim also used more than half of the area under cultivation for conventional cultivation. He grows wheat, barley, oats and rapeseed on 130 hectares – he also has pasture land. “If the law comes as proposed, I can close my shop,” he says.

“They are destroying our regional agriculture”

It scared him that such draft resolutions would even be drafted. “They destroy our regional agriculture and destroy family businesses,” says Richrath.

Michael Kolping (45) from Kerpen agreed. He fattens bulls in the open barn, his chickens are allowed to run around. He produces the feed on 120 hectares. A good 60 percent of its acreage fell from conventional cultivation with the enactment of the law. “Then I can’t get enough of my animals anymore.”

Concerns about the successors

Many farmers are also worried about their successors. Köllen: “You can no longer recommend young people to take over their parents’ business.”

“We will have to adjust to the fact that there will be massive cuts,” suspected farmer Hubertus Röllgen from Türnich: lower yields, poorer quality. You have to think about other forms of business, about cooperation, for example, and about part-time instead of full-time employment.


Source: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger by www.ksta.de.

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