Lidl and Kaufland offer 50 million euros to farmers affected by ASF
Following a video conference between trading companies and Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU), the Schwarz Group, based in Neckarsulm in Baden-Württemberg, promised millions in aid. Starting next year, the funds will be made available through the Animal Welfare Initiative. With the initiative, the Schwarz Group now wants to work out how the support can be specifically distributed and how a payment should be regulated in detail.
The video conference was set up after demonstrations by farmers in front of central stores in the food retail sector. After the conversation, Klöckner stated that it was important that there was an "immediate understanding" between trade and agriculture. "It’s about more appreciation for food and about prices that enable our farmers to add value." Specifically, during the talks, she suggested a code of conduct with which the trade defines its own rules for fair cooperation.
The President of the German Farmers’ Association, Joachim Rukwied, described the Schwarz Group’s offer of millions as a "consolation". "That is a nice gesture and a sign of appreciation for the animal welfare initiative," said Rukwied. "But because of the ongoing price war, our farmers lose this amount almost every week." In order to help farmers in the long term, a clear commitment by the trade to exit the "permanent low-price culture" is necessary.
The Animal Welfare Initiative, founded in 2015, financially supports farmers in taking steps that go beyond the legal standards for the welfare of their livestock. Implementation is monitored by the initiative.
Greenpeace welcomed the Schwarz Group’s announcement as the "correct first step", but at the same time demanded that other food retailers should follow suit. In addition, it is not enough "only to tackle the symptoms". A "system change" is necessary, according to the environmental protection organization. "The competition for the cheapest food must finally come to an end." Farmers need fair prices from the trade and long-term purchase agreements for better-made products.
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