German farmers call for adjustments to CAP, national fertilizer reserves

30 Mar 2022 | Sharon Levrez

German farm association Deutscher Bauernverband (DBV) has called for temporary adjustments to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy as implemented in Germany to ensure food supply in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as a national reserve of fertilizer.

Addressing ministers of the country’s Länder and federal agriculture minister Cem Özdemir on Wednesday during their spring conference, the association’s president, Joachim Rukwied, said fertilizer shortages were of particular concern, and suggested national reserves should be created similar to those held for gas and LNG.

"If there are any shortages, significantly lower harvests would be inevitable from 2023,” Rukwied said.

"In the short term, sufficient production capacities for nitrogen fertilizers must be maintained even if Russian supplies are interrupted. Similar to the national stockpiling of natural gas and LNG, a reserve for fertilizers should also be built up for spring 2023."

Russia is a major exporter of fertilizer globally, but exports have been restricted since its invasion of Ukraine in late February.

CAP in hand

The association also called for changes to the EU’s CAP in the light of the current war in Ukraine, particularly as far as regulations for fallow fields and crop rotation is concerned.

“In this respect, it is also necessary to critically examine Germany's CAP Strategic Plan. The national implementation goes beyond the EU framework in the points mentioned above,” DBV said.

As far as animal feed is concerned, the association also called for an exemption for organic farming to be reactivated at an EU level to allow farmers to use up to 5% of conventional feed, and for a relaxation in national rules on the use of processed animal proteins.

It also asked for a temporary extension of the time limits placed on short-term employment to ensure adequate seasonal workers are available and for work permits for Ukrainian refugees to be granted swiftly, as well as for a gradual implementation of a planned minimum wage increase to €12.

German agriculture ministers are meeting Wednesday through Friday this week to discuss their economic, agricultural and consumer policy over the coming months.