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Umweltorientierte Agrarstrukturpolitik in Deutschland: die Entwicklung der ökologischen Landwirtschaft

Environmentally orientated farm structure policy in Germany: the development of ecological agriculture

Lukhaup, Rainer


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Abstract The problems of conventional agriculture are characterised by commercial concentration, the production of market surpluses (in the industrialised countries), environmental pollution and subsidies. These problems all prompt the question of whether there are alternatives in the method of production. Based upon the aspect of sustainability, we would like to discuss to what extent ecological agriculture could be this alternative and if it could be implemented on a wide scale. At the present, ecological agriculture still plays a subordinate role in Germany. However, the changeover to ecological farming has been supported in the framework of the extensivation programmes of the European Community or the European Union since the end of the 1980's. Unfortunately, the methods of marketing were not built up at the same time. The consequence of this is that there is sinking incentive for other enterprises to change their production over to the ecological production. As a result, it will hardly be possible to achieve the agricultural objective of reducing the agricultural surpluses by having the ecological enterprises produce lower production quantities (20% to 30% lower yields than in conventional farming). We can see that this difficulty arises out of the unit area development since the beginning of the 90's: While the ecologically farmed area increased nine times from 44 000 hectares to more than 400 000 hectares from 1989 to 1998 (2,2% of the entire areas utilised for agriculture farmed by approximately 10 000 enterprises or 1,9% of all enterp rises), hardly any new sales pa ths have been opened up on the market. As a unit area comparison: nature reserves also occupy only approximately 2% of the overall area throughout the nation (KÖPKE 1999) If modern technologies are applied, sales paths opened up and if the current demographic development continues, we can see that the potential for yield is definitely capable of feeding the population (Bechmann 1994). Of course, this is only true if the full genetic potential for performance of the cropping products is exhausted. However, this is where Kahnt (1996, page 209 f) sees here the limits to ecological agriculture both with commercial crops as well as with farm animals since neither the quantity nor the quality of required nutritive needs is available. Consequently, lower yield quantities on the economic side will be compensated by higher consumer prices (up to 40% in comparison to products from conventional cropping). There are also limits resulting from the food requirements of a country under the conditions of the existing population growth, political objectives (autarchy), the potential that natural site condition have for performance and the technical potential for development. We may see one of the main reasons why ecological farming does not increase to the desired extent in the economic decisions made by the ente rprises. The features of an enterprise functioning ideally as an ecological enterprise is that one meaningfully rotates fruit and field between arable land, arable land not in use with legume farming and/ or a high proportion of grasslands with animal husbandry. The fact that it has a higher susceptibility towards being attacked by pests and diseases can also have the effect of lowering yield (Kahnt 1996, page 211). As a consequence, the question of whether ecological agriculture can be financed has great deal of significance. We cannot just make an undifferentiated and sweeping statement that ecological agriculture is the cure-all for conventional farming with its impact on the environment. There is no doubt that it is a promising alternative to conventional farming in certain limited areas. Rather, the question is how conventional agriculture can utilise the knowledge brought about by ecological agriculture to come closer to the overall objectives of utilising and forming a cultural landscape that is characterised by sustainability.
Thesaurusschlagwörter Federal Republic of Germany; agriculture; agricultural development; agrarian structure; agricultural commodities market; land use; organic farming; structural policy; sustainability; environmental protection; economic policy by sectors
Klassifikation Ökologie und Umwelt; Raumplanung und Regionalforschung; Wirtschaftssektoren; Wirtschaftspolitik
Sprache Dokument Deutsch
Publikationsjahr 1999
Seitenangabe S. 2-15
Zeitschriftentitel Europa Regional, 7.1999 (1999) 3
ISSN 0943-7142
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet
Lizenz Deposit Licence - Keine Weiterverbreitung, keine Bearbeitung