Wolfgang Hees, is an organic farmer and representative of the German small-scale farmers association of the region of Baden-Württemberg. He attended and spoke at the Good Food Good Farming rally in Strasbourg on Monday. Below is what he said.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you. I own a small organic farm with sheep in Germany, producing about 60 tons of vegetables and fruit. On behalf of all those that make a living by producing food sustainably for local markets, I would like to make three important points:
- This Parliament was elected to create the right conditions and policies for us and future generations to live within the resources and limits that Europe and this planet provide for us. For over 20 years, the EU has gotten its agricultural policy disastrously wrong. The constant intensification and mass production has created problems for biodiversity, for the climate, for our water, soils, food and health. AND it has resulted in the closure of hundreds of thousands of small farms – the lifeblood of rural communities.
- To put this right and to reduce the impact that European food and trade policies on people in the global South, you need to act fast! On behalf of small-scale farmers around the world, I ask you to rethink the ongoing agriculture reform. I ask you to shift funds from hectare payments (the first pillar of the CAP) to targeted funding for good land management. Land ownership is not an accomplishment, but skilled land management that treats the soil, animals, people and our climate with care and compassion is!
- I ask you to reduce the conversion of natural and agricultural land to other uses. I ask you to minimise the impact of pesticides and fertilisers on soils and water. And I ask you to support climate action, the protection of biodiversity and soil fertility. And I ask you to act in solidarity with the rights of farmers and peoples of the global South! No unfair trade agreements – NO to the EU-Mercosur deal. Food sovereignty needs people who grow local, healthy and sustainable food.
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