Recently there has been an icy mood between farmers and the government regarding agricultural diesel. The Chancellor sets an example and comes to the big industry meeting. Is there any prospect of a thaw?
Olaf Scholz proudly holds up the plaited dough he made himself. The Chancellor came to the Green Week agricultural trade fair in Berlin on Monday, and now members of the German national bakery team are guiding him on a short-term craft assignment at the counter of a show bakery. That seems to be working well – people are smiling at him left and right, the SPD politician is giving the thumbs up.
Exactly a week ago the situation was less relaxed. Thousands of farmers stood at the Brandenburg Gate with tractors and a lot of anger in their stomachs and vented their dissatisfaction with the government. The date at the food industry’s big show should also send signals.
“One thing will continue to be crucial in the future: agriculture that is economically successful,” said the Chancellor at the end of his 90-minute visit. The industry is “part of our culture, of our country, of what is important to us.” Scholz promised concrete relief in the matter. “There is actually far too much bureaucracy.” Now it’s about changing the many regulations so that life and work on the farm becomes easier. In general, the government has “firmly resolved” to discuss with the industry what “pragmatic things” could be done to make the economic activities of companies easier.
The Farmers President welcomes the Chancellor
The farmers took to the streets to demand that tax breaks for agricultural diesel should now gradually end. The coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP has already weakened the plans and is relying on resolving the conflict with relief elsewhere. The farmers’ association is initially insisting on a solution for agricultural diesel. Farmers President Joachim Rukwied welcomed Scholz to the trade fair. They sat down together at a table for an exchange with representatives of young farmers to talk about the situation and prospects.
Scholz also stopped at some trade fair stands. It was about innovations for the farms, for example drone technology to protect fawns from agricultural machinery in fields. With Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) he was shown a research model of a strawberry harvesting robot. “I think that people underestimate how much intelligence goes into picking,” said the Chancellor when it was explained to him how carefully the fruits have to be picked.
Olaf Scholz enjoys the cheese
In the forestry industry’s trade fair district, Scholz symbolically placed a small beech tree in a bed of soil. There was also a use of a pan in a show kitchen – the Chancellor lifted freshly prepared pancakes onto two plates and tried them directly. “He enjoyed it,” said Daniel Schade, President of the Association of German Chefs, who was at the stove. Scholz also grabbed a cube of organic mountain cheese to try and commented: “Cheese tastes good.”
In his conclusion to the trade fair, he also talked about the “big changes” that agriculture is facing and emphasized: “This has to be done carefully and always with an eye on feasibility.” The change towards more animal and environmental protection in production is also a big topic at Green Week. The Chancellor made it clear that the conversation with the young farmers should not be over yet. “It was so interesting that we immediately agreed to a sequel.”