Agriculture Minister Totschnig assured the farmers of his support during a working meeting with Director Nemecek.
St.Pölten (OTS) – The Lower Austrian Farmers’ Association continues to speak plain language and gains an important ally: During a work meeting on site, directly on a Weinviertel field, Director Paul Nemecek was able to present the new paper on demands for agriculture and forestry, which was presented at the beginning of June was handed over to Minister of Agriculture Norbert Totschnig and further measures discussed with the head of department.
“As the Lower Austrian farmers’ association, we are calling for an irrevocable halt to the negotiations on the Mercosur agreement in the interests of local farmers, but also on behalf of all consumers,” Nemecek addressed a central point. The five-point program contains the most important demands for Lower Austrian and Austrian agriculture up to 2025: In addition to a very clear “No” to the free trade agreement mentioned, the Lower Austrian Farmers’ Association also demands a crystal-clear commitment from the Republic to security of supply with local food, as well as a return to the EU -Agricultural policy on the supply mandate, including a clear rejection of unrealistic reduction targets for plant protection.
“I’m not against trade deals, but they have to be fair and sustainable. The Mercosur agreement is a disadvantage for our local family farms and would put them under pressure. I’m very clear about that,” Totschnig said, encouraging the farmers’ association in its efforts to oppose the pact. The Minister of Agriculture also referred to the Federal Government’s repeated “No” to the free trade agreement during the recent Latin America summit in Brussels. “While Europe is constantly raising climate, animal welfare and social standards, they play a subordinate role in South America,” they both agree.
Common criticism of unrealistic EU renaturation plans
Totschnig and Nemecek also agreed on the controversial EU nature restoration regulation. “What Brussels wants here corresponds to a centrally planned economy without ecological common sense, and at the expense of the farmers,” Nemecek renewed the criticism of the farmers’ association. Totschnig also criticized the “excessive” and “unrealistic” goals of the Commission’s proposal: “In the present form, these would limit our security of supply with food.” Agriculture takes place anyway.
Due to climate change, there are many questions that need new answers. During the on-site discussion, Nemecek also mentioned a rapid and consistent expansion of irrigation and the water infrastructure. Totschnig was able to calm things down here: “Austria is in the fortunate position of having sufficient drinking water until 2050 and beyond.” Austria already has one of the most extensive monitoring networks in Europe with over 3,800 groundwater measuring points. From now on, long-term weather forecasts will also be used to evaluate the groundwater situation in order to identify improbable bottlenecks even earlier. Totschnig recently presented extensive precautionary and emergency plans.
Industry and commerce are the largest consumers of water, followed by water suppliers. Agriculture accounts for only four percent. For the Minister of Agriculture it is clear that the issue of drought in agriculture is becoming more explosive. To this end, a wide variety of measures have already been provided for in the common agricultural policy.
For Nemecek, Agriculture Minister Norbert Totschnig is a tried and tested partner and qualified supporter behind the farmers: “Overcoming the current challenges, such as climate change or the war in Ukraine, poses great challenges for our society that we can only master together can. The issue of security of supply will remain a central political focus in the future.” And the Director of the Farmers’ Union appealed to Brussels: “Let our farmers do their work!”
Questions & contact:
Mag. Michael Kostiha
Press spokesman for the Lower Austrian Farmers’ Association
3100 St. Poelten
Mobil: 0664/230 318 3
Public Relations Officer
Mobil: 0664/839 74 29
Mail: [email protected]