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Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens)

Photo: Frank Bee / DER SPIEGEL / BCG

Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir has called for a reduction in the number of animals in agriculture. "Give fewer animals more space," said the Green politician in an interview at the climate conference of SPIEGEL and the consulting firm Boston Consulting Group.

Fewer animals means "no more rainforests have to be cut down for climate protection. In addition, land is being gained in Germany that has so far been used for animal feed. Farmers who embark on this journey should receive money for this. He did not say how and to what extent this would be financed – and referred to the financial challenges of the traffic light coalition.

»Chickpeas in Brandenburg«

At the same time, Özdemir called for a comprehensive restructuring of agriculture. Harvests are becoming "more and more unpredictable, more and more difficult to calculate," he said in the face of droughts and other extreme weather events. He hopes for grape varieties that can cope better with the heat, but also for "chickpeas in Brandenburg".

He believes that his department is on the right track with regard to climate protection. "The German agricultural sector has made its contribution, we are meeting the climate protection targets," he said. However, he has not yet succeeded in completely reversing the logic of "grow or give way".

However, Özdemir had recently made few friends with farmers and forest owners in Germany. It is precisely in this area, which is so important for the climate, that the German government wants to make substantial cuts. The federal government's so-called GAK subsidies (2023: 1.1 billion euros) are to be reduced by almost 300 million euros, yet they are considered the most important national funding instrument for supporting agriculture and coastal protection - and they are also likely to be used to make one or two green investments.