108 Professor Vogtmann legend has it that you won Prince Charles over to the cause of organic farming What did you tell him Our mutual friend Lord David Astor had convinced Prince Charles that conventional farming is not sustain able This is why he was looking for another kind of farming but he didn t yet quite know which When I first met His Royal Highness in 1982 I introduced him to the idea of organic farming Our plan was that we would show him organic farming and it would light a fire in his imagination which it did but he still had his doubts So he sent his private secretary and vet to Germany and we showed them some excellent ex amples of efficient organic farming When they re turned the secretary turned to Prince Charles full of enthusiasm and said Sir I think we can do this The heir to the British throne produces or ganic food Demand is growing considerably here in Germany So why on earth are there not enough organic farmers in Germany The German Farmers Association is pushing its mem bers towards greater expansion and higher production levels It s all about world market prices and world mar ket level to the disadvantage of the rural agriculture Organic farming doesn t fit into this economic model which is geared towards linear growth Locally produced services of general interest such as clean water clean air and a beautiful landscape with a high level of biodiversi A pot of tea with Prof Hartmut Vogtmann Organic farming pioneer mason graduate in Agricultural Engineering and food scientist first director of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL in Switzerland took up in 1981 the first German chair for Organic Farming at Kassel University ty are not rewarded by global markets No one in China is going to pay more for apples grown in meadow orchards But organic farmers sell their products in Germany What do global market prices have to do with it Here too organic farmers are under huge pressure It won t pay off is the continued refrain and sad ly this is what organic farmers are hearing too Of course it won t pay off if the prices of organic food stuffs are constantly being squeezed in particular by cheaper organic goods from all over the world in the midst of rising investment and leasing costs Is that where the idea came from for the NABU initiative New alliances need to be formed between farmers pro cessors and distributors and not least through including the customers who offer primary producers a reliable eco nomic basis Alnatura and now Lebensbaum are pioneers in this approach The NABU initiative provides farmers with financial support as they convert to organic farming Isn t this the job of politics In principle the entire farming support scheme which we have in the EU has failed and needs to be abolished Farmers should continue to receive money but only for services of general interest the idea being to use pub lic funds for public sector services Take a convention al arable farm in the Magdeburg Börde which farms 5 Quality has roots

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