Farmers and food producers had to do without their big industry meeting in Berlin for two years due to the corona. When you restart, inflation is getting on your nerves – and some ideas from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Feasting, marveling, petting animals: After a two-year Corona break, the Green Week agricultural trade fair has started again as a live event in the Berlin exhibition halls. On the first day, numerous visitors took the opportunity to find out about the future of agriculture and to taste the products. During the opening tour, Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir and Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey tried out the offer on Friday.
Özdemir said the fair was also an opportunity to thank farmers for making sure the table was set every day. This cannot be taken for granted, because there are also people on earth “who have to go to bed hungry,” said the Green politician.
300,000 guests expected
1400 exhibitors from 60 countries will present themselves at the fair until January 29th. The organizers are expecting around 300,000 guests. The SPD politician Giffey emphasized that the trade fair business in the capital had started well again. “Of course we are very pleased that the real testing and tasting and smelling and feeling and experiencing can take place here again.” At the same time, the fair sent a signal of solidarity with Ukraine.
In the days leading up to the start of the fair, the topics of inflation, animal welfare and the faltering organic market dominated discussions between industry representatives and politicians. Özdemir said that if you talk about inflation and energy prices, you end up with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Therefore: “This war must end.” Russia and Ukraine are not represented at the fair.
VAT for groceries under discussion
Around the start of the trade fair, there was much discussion about the demand for a reduction in VAT for certain foods. The broad social alliance “We’re fed up”, which called for a demonstration with 50 tractors at the Brandenburg Gate on Saturday, calls for a reduction in “climate-friendly food”. Özdemir wants fruit and vegetables to be reduced, but not animal products.
Farmer President Joachim Rukwied told the “Tagesspiegel”: “We need a uniform VAT rate for food.” Controlling consumption via taxes is not in his interest. In principle, the value-added tax for groceries “should be lower than the current rates, the amount can be discussed”.
Rukwied sees the domestic cultivation of fruit and vegetables at risk. Fields of asparagus and strawberries were no longer harvested last year because Italian asparagus only cost three euros per kilo. “We can’t keep up with such prices,” criticized Rukwied and called for a European minimum wage.
Baden-Württemberg not among the exhibitors
By far the most exhibitors in the exhibition halls come from Germany. 12 of the 16 federal states present themselves on site. The large area of Baden-Württemberg is surprisingly missing. In addition to a large flower hall, a newly designed animal hall also attracts many visitors. The adventure farm of the Forum Moderne Landwirtschaft is also one of the highlights.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn and the retail group Rewe presented a shopping bus that is intended to improve the offer in the country. According to Deutsche Bahn, a pilot project is to begin in northern Hesse in March. The “supermarket on wheels” is intended to reach communities in several districts. There are 700 different products to buy – from fresh fruit and vegetables to frozen goods, drinks and cosmetics. Most of the goods are regional, but there are also fair trade and organic products.
Jane Stock is a technology author, who has written for 24 Hours World. She writes about the latest in technology news and trends, and is always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to improve his audience’s experience.