24.01.2017 |

‘We are fed up!’: 18,000 take to Berlin’s streets for a better agricultural policy

18,000 take to Berlin’s streets (Photo: Die Auslöser Berlin)

Over 18,000 people took to the streets of Berlin last Saturday, 21 January, to demonstrate for healthy food, more ecological farming and fair trade. Farmers, consumers, beekeepers and food activists joined the march that was led by 130 tractors and ended in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Equipped with colourful posters and creative costumes, they walked under this year’s motto “Agri businesses: Take your hands off our food”. Many dressed up as cows, chickens or butterflies, buzzed across the city as bees or pushed along artwork such as an outsized bottle of glyphosate or an enormous pig. Farmers from all across Germany had travelled for many hours by tractor to take part in the march. The event was organised by a broad alliance of more than 100 farmers’, environmental, animal welfare and development organisations, known as “Wir haben es satt!” (we are fed up). It was the seventh year in a row that the protesters demand a fundamental chance of course in agriculture during the International Green Week – Europe’s biggest agricultural fair that takes places in Berlin at the moment. Many participants expressed their concern about the Monsanto-Bayer merger and other deals such as DuPont’s proposed merger with Dow and the ChemChina-Syngenta deal. They fear that these deals will lead to a further concentration of the seed market and increased corporate control of the food system. If these mergers all go through, the three biggest agribusiness companies would control more than 60 percent of the world’s patented seeds. The march also targeted free trade agreements such as the EU-Canada international trade deal CETA, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States as well as EPAs with African countries. The organisations behind the march warn that these deals pose a threat to small-scale sustainable farming and consumer protection. According to the alliance, these deals will cause harmful dumping that destroys domestic markets in poor countries and will lead to even greater export dependency for European farmers. (ab)

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