Country Focus: Germany

by Melissa Alexander
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The western section of Germany features relatively small farming operations, while the east comprises larger, formerly state-owned farms that have been privatized into shareholder operations or multi-family cooperatives.

As a member of the European Union, Germany adheres to the principles and programs of the Common Agricultural Policy. With the election in September 1998 of a new political coalition, the Social Democrats and the so-called "Greens," Germany is expected to focus on tougher environmental, animal welfare and consumer protection measures in upcoming negotiations on C.A.P. and world trade reforms.

The coalition partners in late 1998 concluded a contract laying the cornerstones of their political goals for the next four years. According to the contract, the coalition generally supports the European system of family farming combined with a protection system against lower-priced imports.

The coalition's contract covers agricultural issues under the titles "Ecological Modernization," "Support Rural Regions — Secure Agriculture" and "European Unity." The general theme is to tighten ecological and social standards for German agricultural and food production.

In the upcoming World Trade Organization negotiations, Germany plans to work toward the implementation of higher ecological and social standards on the international level. If this cannot be achieved, the coalition supports adoption of E.U. protection barriers against imports from countries applying lower standards.

According to the contract, the scattered portions of environment-related legislation will be combined into an "Environmental Law Book." Securing biological diversity and soil protection are two major cornerstones, and a long-term target is to devote about 10% of the land to nature conservation zones.

Biotechnology is discussed in connection with medicinal products. Application of gene technology in food production will be supported but critically monitored. The plan also calls for labeling

 

 

Data

Production

Consumption

Exports

Imports

(1,000 tonnes)

Wheat

20,100

16,000

5,300

1,200

Barley

12,500

9,100

2,821

694

Wheat flour

3,753

n/a

n/a

1998-99 marketing year, except for 1993 calendar year for wheat flour

 

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