The orchards are threatened with extinction. Researchers at the University of Hohenheim assume that these retreat areas for ancient types of fruit, insects, birds and other animals will disappear in Baden-Württemberg by 2050. It doesn’t look better in d ‘ other federal states. Growing them can be tedious, and many owners don’t have the time or the will to do so. In addition, the colonization pressure increases. Another major reason is the failures of German agricultural policy. Ironically, the referendum to protect bees sparked irrational deforestation in Bavaria two years ago. Fearing that their orchards might be placed under nature protection and therefore more or less expropriated, some farmers used chainsaws and felled old trees. According to the motto: where there is nothing, there is nothing to protect.
Traditional orchards are victims of a fatal mixture of ignorance and ignorance of sustainable agriculture that has proven itself over the centuries. Their decline is exemplary of the failure of an agricultural policy determined by the CDU and the CSU for more than 15 years. During this time, the Union has systematically delayed or even prevented major reforms, whether in the protection of the climate, water, animals or species. It also damaged the peasant class, more than a third of farms were abandoned during this period – too much economic pressure, too little prospect of better times.
The legacy of the Merkel era places a heavy burden on the future red-green-yellow federal government, it must now act quickly and decisively and eradicate the mistakes of the past. The expectations are huge, interest groups are lobbying from all sides. Animal rights activists call for an end to factory farming, environmentalists for a ban on pesticides, climate protectors for CO₂-neutral growing methods and farmers for more help, to name but a few few items from the long list. It is also clear that not all requirements can be met, especially not from now on.
Deep cuts – also for consumers
The main challenge for the future government is to set the right priorities. Their location should be clear to everyone. As of Sunday, the international community in Glasgow, Scotland, has been discussing how the Paris climate goals can be achieved one way or another. Agriculture and nutrition play a decisive role; a good quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions occur in this area, especially in livestock. Even Germany cannot avoid significantly reducing the number of cattle and pigs kept in stables, the faster the better.
Another important objective is to ensure nutrition, not by bringing in everything necessary from all parts of the world, but by achieving the highest possible level of self-sufficiency. This too can make a decisive contribution to improving the climate balance. The whole food system must become more sustainable.
All of this means deep cuts, not only for farms, but also for consumers who have to get used to the fact that meat and dairy products, for example, become more expensive when their true costs are finally taken into account.
Where applicable, prohibitions are also required
It is also clear that the necessary change cannot be achieved with friendly, common sense appeals from producers and consumers. In addition to financial incentives for more sustainable management in fields and stables, stricter laws, higher taxes and, if necessary, bans are needed. Social justice must not be abandoned, food must remain affordable for all – a minefield for the new federal government.
Continuing as it has been for 15 years is certainly not an alternative, otherwise there is a risk of clear cutting as recently in the Bavarian orchards. It will be up to the future federal government to develop perspectives for sustainable agriculture and to define clear objectives, also to give producers planning security. It will take a lot from all sides, reforms are fraught with conflict, arduous and often painful. But they can also be liberating in the end.