1. GA-English

Protest against laws and regulations: Thousands of farmers demonstrate in Bonn against agricultural policy

Protest against laws and regulations : Thousands of farmers demonstrate in Bonn against agricultural policy

Several hundred farmers demonstrated against the government's agricultural plans on Monday lunchtime on Rochusstrasse in Bonn. Some of the farmers drove their tractors into the city.

Several hundred farmers protested against the agricultural package presented in September in front of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Duisdorf. Even before that, more and more new laws and ordinances had brought Rhineland farmers onto the streets.

The protest was directed against the insect protection action programme with additional plant protection requirements, the animal welfare label and the reallocation of EU agricultural funds from the first to the second pillar as well as the new fertiliser ordinance. Farmers fear that the new agricultural package will endanger their livelihoods.

"We are fed up with the constant regulation," said farmer Gerhard Rosendahl from Haan in the Rhineland. As soon as one had followed a regulation, a new one would come and restrict it again. "We farmers don't enjoy it any more", he said as motivation to join the protest drive to Bonn.

Manfred Rohleder, who had left for Bonn early in the morning with around 30 farmers by bus and six tractors from the greater Essen area, put it a little harsher: "We simply cannot be driven through the village like a sow," he said. Every day, the farmers in NRW lost 25 hectares of land to construction and compensation measures, which threatened their existence.

In addition, there would be an emotional climate discussion in which the farmers would be blamed for everything. "We simply can no longer put up with this", said the deputy district farmer's chairman from Essen. In similar way also the federation presidents expressed themselves, the rally was opened with "departure to the hunt" blown on a hunt horn.

"It is five before twelve“, Bernhard Conzen, president of the Rheini agriculture federation (RLV), greeted the participants of the demonstration. „It must end with the exorbitant flood conclusion edition. The protest is necessary, because the policy lost touch with reality. We are tired of solely taking over the responsibility for everything which goes wrong in nature, the climate and the environment.“

None of those present could remember having ever been so "cornered" by politics. No one can remember that any technicality has ever been ignored from the ground, said Conzen. "Talk to us before ideological thoughts become laws," was his urgent appeal to politicians.

"We do not hold farmers responsible for everything," denied BMEL State Secretary Hermann Onko Aeikens. The government had adopted a balanced climate package and had had to fulfil the conditions imposed by Brussels for the fertiliser package. "We will not leave the farmers alone," said the State Secretary, "we will accompany this with support and assistance programmes. Aeikens confirmed to the GA that there were "selective problems with groundwater pollution" as well as the insect problem, which was related to the type of farming among other things.

Where agriculture is jointly responsible, one has to look together with the profession as to how to solve the problems. Aeikens then invited the presidents of the associations for a discussion.

(Original text: Stefan Hermes / Translation: Mareike Graepel)