“We are committed to environmentally friendly, climate-friendly and biodiversity-promoting agriculture. However, this must be economically feasible and competitive and, above all, must not jeopardize the security of supply,” says Franz Waldenberger: Today, Monday, the President of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, together with Chamber Director Franz Dietachmair, gave an outlook on the agricultural year 2023 at a press conference.
As reported, the EU wants to become climate-neutral by 2050 (“Green Deal”), by 2023 net greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 55 percent compared to 1990. They are committed to the goals of the Green Deal, but the details of the regulations are very problematic, said Waldenberger: The proposal to reduce the use of pesticides by 50 percent by 2030 would lead to problems. “Austria has already reduced the use of pesticides by around 18 percent since 2011, and we will continue on this path. However, the targets set by the EU are completely exaggerated and endanger the security of supply.”
Criticism was also leveled at the EU regulation on “restoring nature”: its draft provides for 30 percent of agricultural land to be protected by 2030 and ten percent of agricultural land to be completely out of use. According to Waldenberger, this is also counterproductive for food security.
Studies by the Universities of Wageningen and Kiel show that if the EU requirements are implemented, there would be a risk of losses in food production of between seven and 20 percent, depending on the sector: “Europe would have to compensate for this loss with imports from third countries where these strict requirements do not exist .” The proposals are “completely unrealistic”. The Chamber of Agriculture and 18 of the 27 EU Agriculture Ministers are demanding an economic impact assessment from the EU Commission on the various goals of the Green Deal.
Producer prices developed positively
According to Waldenberger, the prices for fertilizers and animal feed, diesel, electricity, machinery and building materials will remain high this year. The deteriorating economic situation is also being felt on the agar markets. The development of producer prices was very pleasing last year, forecasts for 2023 are difficult.
According to Chamber Director Dietachmair, there is currently a certain degree of market saturation in the organic and premium segment. The reason is the reduced purchasing power of the population. In principle, however, emotional components such as animal welfare, climate balance and biodiversity are increasingly influencing customers’ purchasing decisions. This is where the Chamber of Agriculture is also focusing on advice this year.
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