My first day in Berlin ends here!
This city will be in the spotlight over the coming days. Thousands of visitors are expected to visit Berlin and the 84th International Green Week. The German Embassy in Malta has kindly nominated and invited me to attend this major event on behalf of the Federal Office in Berlin. I am therefore following the official “Visitors Programme of the Federal Republic of Germany”.
The attendees of this Visitors Programme come from all around the globe: USA, Mexico, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, India and also various European countries. It is always an experience to meet people having different backgrounds. One thing we have in common; we are all into agriculture.
Today I attended various formal meetings. During the first meeting, Mr. Constantin Marquardt (a political advisor), gave us an overview about German agriculture. Facts about production, legislation, the CAP and food trends were highlighted. Environmental challenges have also been discussed in the light of food production.
The second meeting was held at the Ministry for Food and Agriculture. Here we met Mr. Friedrich Wacker, a Director within the Ministry. He explained in detail how the Ministry works, its priorities and how it aims to achieve them. It was interesting to note that this Ministry is also known as the Ministry of Life. Nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and the environment are all elements needed to sustain any population.
Germany is a major food exporter in the global market and yet, imports outweigh exports. Around half of the population still lives in rural areas and around half of the surface area of Germany is rural. Farmers’ co-operatives and lobby groups have a strong voice but it is not always easy to reach solutions.
The Federal Foreign Office then hosted us for lunch in a building that has significant historical value. Delicate matters such as Brexit and migration were brought up during the lunch.
In the afternoon, we met Ms. Jutta Jaschke at the Federation of German Consumer Organisation. She is a food policy expert and shared with us some valuable information about how food safety issues are being tackled. This session was of particular interest since food scandals have triggered a whole new system of rapid alerts.
Tomorrow we will be spending the morning outdoors visiting some farms and later on attend the official opening ceremony.
More news coming up!