“Promotion and export are essential”

“The German market is the core of our agricultural economy. However the possibility for growth for agricultural products is outside the EU, and part of the agricultural policies should be the increased and diversified export of agricultural products. That stabilizes the German market too.” This states Joachim Rukwied, the president of the German farmers association (DBV), at the export meeting of the Federal Departments of Agriculture, mid October.

Germany has always been an import country where food is considered. “If you import you should be able to export,” states Rukwied clearly. However the export to other markets needs an active attitude and maintenance. “We need to position ourselves in such a way that we can reach out to alternative markets without much trouble and losses when we lose a trading partner. A clear example is the current trade embargo with Russia but exchange rates or a sharp decrease in demand can cause the need to diversify too.” Rukwied suggests a range of actions for promotion and an export campaign. Bilateral contracts and trade agreements with non EU-countries should enable trade without undermining the EU standards. The EU should set the bar for animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety standards in global trade. 

“The current trade and low prices support initiatives to revoke the Russian trade sanctions. The agricultural trade has suffered a loss of nearly 1 billion Euro,” concludes Rukwied. He demands that the federal government commitment to the development of agricultural export should be part of a trade-oriented agricultural policy. Subsidies and state regulation are the wrong way and only fuelled false hopes. 

The EU's promotion of export is a step in "the right direction". The financial resources have increased, as well as the co-financing possibilities. But Germany doesn’t use these funds enough criticizes Rukwied. The EU should reform further so that brands can be advertised, product lists are expanded and smaller individual companies can get funding. Federal and state ministries clearly need to speed up the process of obtaining export certificates suggests Rukwied.

Source: Deutscher Bauernverband

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