"Understanding Farming"

Germany, the land of engineering ingenuity and industry, has at the same time always remained a country with a strong agricultural sector. Despite a high population density, half of the land in Germany is farmed. Around one million people, working in approximately 285,000 agricultural enterprises, produce more than 50 billion Euros’ worth of goods a year.



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Forests: Real all-rounders - Nature sculpted by foresters

Cover of the brochure

We Germans love our forests: from the Black Forest, the Alps, the Harz Mountains, the island of Rügen in Northern Germany, the Palatine Forest, the Eifel region and the Rhön region up to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains - forests shape not only our culture but also the face of our homeland everywhere.

Forests are much more than just cultivated landscape or a source of inspiration for artists. They are an excellent means of mitigating against climate change: the sustainable management of forests and use of wood products helps to reduce greenhouse gases and to achieve our climate change objectives. At the same time, our forests are home to many protected animals and plants. They also offer work and income to many people, in particular in rural regions. More than 55 million people go into forests at least once a year - to get some exercise or just to take a walk. I too can catch my breath and relax in forests. Put simply: our forests are true all-round talents.

Group photo Source: BMEL/ Imo

Schmidt: Holding the Agriculture Ministers' Meeting at the start of the G20 sends an important signal - agriculture is part of global security policy

On 22 January, at the beginning of the G20 presidency, the G20 agriculture ministers agreed on an action plan for global water stewardshipin Berlin. The "Action Plan" sets out commitments which the G20 nations have made to ensure sustainable water management. They have also committed themselves to a responsible use of antibiotics in plant and animal production.

They agreed on a prescription requirement for antibiotics for animals. They also agreed that by 2020 each country is required to present either a national risk analysis concerning the safe use of antibiotics or a roadmap for phasing out antibiotics administered as growth promoters. The use of antibiotics as growth promoters has been banned in the EU since 2006. At the G7 summit in 2015, the federal government took action to ramp up international efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance. The G20 agreement is an important step towards this objective. Christian Schmidt, the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, said that "the concrete commitments of the G20 agriculture ministers, namely to restrict the use of antibiotics in agriculture, are a milestone on the way towards reducing antimicrobial resistance - also in humans."

The concrete commitments of the G20 agriculture ministers, namely to restrict the use of antibiotics in agriculture, are a milestone on the way towards reducing antimicrobial resistance - also in humans. Christian Schmidt

The German presidency is addressing the vital role of agriculture in tackling future challenges. Christian Schmidt The meeting was the first ministers' conference under the German G20 presidency which Minister Schmidt viewed as sending a "positive and important signal". He also highlighted the fact that setting up an agricultural task force under German presidency that will reporting direct to the Sherpas of the heads of state and government, was also a major success. Schmidt: "The German presidency is consequently addressing the vital role of agriculture in tackling future challenges: feeding a growing world population, climate protection and fighting the social and economic reasons behind migration."

By offering in particular economic and social prospects, agriculture can pave the way for peace work and stability on the ground. Agriculture is therefore a part of global security policy.

According to Schmidt, a productive, innovative, sustainable and regionally embedded agriculture is a prerequisite for successfully tackling major future challenges.

With regard to the growing world population and the Agenda 2030 objectives, agriculture needs to become even more productive and sustainable, using the available resources even more responsibly

Agriculture and Water - Key to Feeding the World

Agriculture requires access to adequate and clean water to supply the growing global population with food. As the largest water user, agriculture also contributes to water stewardship. Schmidt highlighted that "that is exactly what we have emphasised today with our joint declaration; that is why we are launching the Action Plan."

The "Action Plan" sets out commitments which the G20 nations have made to ensure sustainable water use. The focal areas comprise politics, technology, research and the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

Digitisation as an Opportunity

One particular focus is on digitisation. Digitisation offers great potential for sustainable water stewardship. Schmidt highlighted the fact that digitisation offers great opportunities for agriculture and is key to food security. In order to seize the opportunities, rural areas need to be better connected. The G20 agriculture ministers invite the G20 ministers in charge of digitisation to duly consider the needs of agriculture at their forthcoming G20 digitisation conference.

The G20 group represents 60 percent of the global utilised agricultural area and 80 percent of the trade in staple foods. Christian Schmidt

Background on G20

The G20 is the central forum for international cooperation of the 20 leading industrialised and emerging countries on financial and economic matters. The G20 account for almost two-thirds of the world population, more than four-fifths of the global GDP and three-quarters of world trade.

The decisions of the G20 states are seen as landmark decisions and act as drivers for reforms on national and multinational level. 19 states and the EU form the G20.

Like the G7, the G20 is an informal forum. For this reason, the respective G20 presidency plays an essential role, being in charge of organising the summits, drawing up the agenda and choosing the attendees.

The G20 summit of heads of state and government will take place in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July. It is preceded by a series of technical meetings held by the respective ministers. The Agriculture Minsters' Meeting is the kick-off event.

Here you can find further information on the German G20 presidency

Germany assumed the G20 presidency on 01 December 2016. The G20 community represents 90 percent of the global economic strength, two thirds of the global population, 60 percent of the global utilised agricultural area and 80 percent of the trade in staple foods. As a consequence, the G20 Agriculture Ministers agreed during their last meeting in China in June 2016 to engage in a regular exchange on agricultural policy and food security issues in future.

Results of the "GFFA - The Berlin World Food Conference" have been fed into the G20 process

The G20 Agriculture Ministers' Meeting took place right after the "Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) - the Berlin World Food Conference". The GFFA took place from 19 to 21 January and focused on: "Agriculture and Water - Key to Feeding the World.". The highlight of the GFFA was the 9th Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Conference on 21 January, the world largest agriculture ministers' conference with 83 countries participating. Results of the GFFA were used as building blocks for the G20 process.

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© Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture