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BÖLW on Budget 2019:

"An eco-federal program does not make for a sustainable budget"

The agricultural and food budget for 2019 is to be increased by more than 200 million euros to 6.24 billion euros compared to last year. The federal program Organic Farming and other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture (BÖLN) is to remain at last year's level of €30 million. On September 11, starting at 4 pm, the German Bundestag will debate the draft of this government bill for the first time.

Peter Böhrig, managing director of the Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW), comments: 
"An eco-federal program does not make for a sustainable budget. Section 10 reveals a major mismatch between important goals of the Federal Government and its financial ambitions to implement these goals. After all, if you make a reasonable commitment to 20% organic farming in the coalition agreement by 2030, you must underpin this with appropriate investments in research.

Every euro, invested in ecologically oriented agricultural and nutritional research, is an investment that pays off several times: it creates real future prospects for our farmers. And it strengthens agriculture that protects the environment, climate, biodiversity, soil and the water for our children and grandchildren. It is also an investment in a particularly gentle food processing without genetic engineering and critical additives.

With the planned €30 million of the eco-federal program, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture is cementing the costs of eco-research at the level of last year. Less than 2% of the total agricultural research budget would be invested in future research. And that, even though growers' questions are already piling up today, and every tenth farm is already an organic farm.

Also particularly important: the budget of the Bundestag must make for long-term research with commitment appropriations. For only with sufficient time -for example in breeding research- can important foundations be laid for new plant varieties or animal breeds that are optimally geared to eco-conditions."

By the end of 2017, 11% of the farms in Germany were organic farms. Nevertheless, according to surveys by the National Thünen Institute, only 1.5% of agricultural research funds are invested in this area. Scientists and farmers meanwhile do consider there to be a real need for further research, in order to promote animal-friendly and environmentally friendly agriculture, greater added value and friendlier forms of food processing. The BÖLW therefore calls for an increase in the BÖLN's approach from the current €30 million to at least €60 million over the current parliamentary term and a budgeting of 20% of agricultural research funding for eco-relevant issues, to make up for the decades of neglect and boost eco-research accordingly to achieve the goal of 20% organic farming.


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