The German farming industry has many different sides: committed farmers produce healthy, diverse foods and manage a rich cultivated landscape between dykes and the Alps, between the Hohes Venn and Oderbruch (Oder swamp). In the face of a growing global population and the limited sources of fossil fuels, food supply and energy recovery from renewable resources take on increasing importance. The German farming industry is a modern economic sector which, at the same time, is aware of its traditions. Around 1.25 million part-time or full-time workers produce goods worth approximately Euro 40 billion on 370,000 farms.
Furthermore, the farming industry provides additional services for society, nature and the environment. Nonetheless, liberalisation and technical progress exert considerable pressure on the farming industry. It must constantly adapt to changing framework conditions and, in this way, secure jobs and value-added in rural areas. In this context it receives specific support from the Federal Government, the Länder and the EU.
Prior to a purchase or signing a contract consumers must be able to recognise with a reasonable degree of effort the benefits and consequences of their purchasing decision. Information and transparency are the basic preconditions for markets that function well. What are also needed are balanced rights and effective law enforcement as well as justified confidence in safe products and services.
The BMELV is committed to ensuring that the framework conditions for appropriate consumer rights, for protection against deception and misleading information are up to date. This applies to the most diverse areas: from insurance law over the Internet down to passenger rights. With the Consumer Information Act (VIG), the BMELV has created an effective instrument for more information and greater market transparency. This Act gives everyone the right to request information on food, feed and everyday consumer goods from the competent public authorities.
In our globablised world central political topics take on increasing international importance. This also applies to the BMELV areas of activity. The BMELV assumes a range of tasks in conjunction with negotiations and decisions within the European Union on agriculture, consumer policy or food as well as on questions of international co-operation like for instance global food, dismantling barriers in international trade, opening up new markets and, last but not least, good bilateral relations with countries on all continents. This work is supported by the BMELV staff in German embassies and representations across the globe.
The BMELV promotes the healthy enjoyment of food which is now more varied and better in quality than ever before. At the very top of the agenda is the ongoing effort to ensure that our food remains safe along the entire chain – from farmstead to dinner table.
This includes conveying information about the core elements of a healthy diet. One example here is the National Action Plan "IN FORM – German national initiative to promote healthy diets and physical activity".
Another aspect is that the labelling and presentation of foodstuffs must always be clear, accu-rate and easily comprehensible. In order to protect valuable resources, the BMELV is involved in campaigning against unnecessary food waste.
At the global level, the fight against hunger is one of the Federal Government’s top priorities. Each year, the BMELV channels € 8.3 million into financing FAO food security projects.