What can really help farmers plagued by drought?
This summer's droughts have ruined harvests in many places in Europe, with huge losses for farmers. In Germany, the state has promised its support, and the EU Commission has also pledged financial aid. While some commentators believe farmers should adopt new practices others make the point that consumers and retailers also need to change their ways.
Last warning for farming
Conventional farming systems are reaching their limits, the Süddeutsche Zeitung notes:
“Scientists concur that extreme weather conditions such as droughts or torrential rains will only become more frequent in the future. The risks for agriculture - and by extension for taxpayers - will consequently only increase. The state won't be able to compensate for the consequences in the long term. Farmers must see this drought as a final warning and strive to change: with new cultivation methods and a departure from intensive livestock farming in its current form. In this way farms could take their cue from the organic foods sector and undertake to raise only as many animals as they can feed from their own land. Only farming that takes a sustainable approach to its own resources can be viable for the future.”
Food prices must go up
Farmers suffer not only from the weather but also from food prices that are far too low, Kaleva complains:
“In recent years consumers have benefited from discount campaigns. These, however, have put a strain on relations between retailers and producers. Farmers are dissatisfied with the low prices and want a more honest business environment and fairer prices. ... Many consumers would be willing to pay a few cents more for food products if they could be certain that the money went to the producers and not to the middlemen. At the same time, one might also ask whether retailers would be willing to reduce their profit margins.”