Protest against low prices: farmers block Lidl stores with tractors

Germany's farmers have been complaining about low prices for decades, and many have already had to give up. Now the displeasure is breaking with tractor demos in several parts of the country. The farmers are angry about a letter from the grocery trade to Chancellor Merkel.

Farmers have again protested in several federal states against what they consider to be too low prices in the food trade. According to the police, around 100 tractors blocked the access to a central warehouse of the Lidl discount store in Cloppenburg. In the neighboring Emstek, according to the information, 20 tractors took part in the blockade action. In Rade (Harburg district) and in Schwanewede, farmers had blocked the access to Lidl warehouses until early morning.

There was also a tractor demo in Westerkappeln (Steinfurt / NRW district) near the Lower Saxony border. In Kiel, farmers blocked the access to a Rewe logistics center. The action lasted until about 11 p.m. on Monday evening, the police said. About 100 people took part in the demonstration, 70 tractors were on site. The background to this is the low prices in the food trade, which from the farmers' point of view are a threat to their existence.

There was also a demonstration by farmers in Rostock on Tuesday night. Farmers blocked a Lidl logistics center with dozens of tractors. In connection with the action at Lidl, a spokesman for the farmers' initiative "Land creates connection" in Lower Saxony announced that the protests in Schleswig-Holstein at Rewe and on Thursday in Hamburg at Edeka will continue.

The farmers are angry about a letter from the large retail chains to Chancellor Angela Merkel. In it, the top managers of the groups Edeka, Rewe, Aldi and the Schwarz Group (Lidl, Kaufland) complained about statements by Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner. The CDU politician had launched a draft law with which farmers and smaller suppliers should be better protected from the price pressure of the trade giants. She spoke of sometimes unfair conditions. The supermarket chains complained that Klöckner had drawn a distorted image of retail companies.

Also dispute over pork price

Last week pork prices had also led to a row between farmers and retailers. Farmers President Joachim Rukwied complained on Wednesday in the "Augsburger Allgemeine" that farmers are currently getting 1.19 euros per kilogram of pork, over 40 percent less than at the beginning of the year. "At this ruinous price, every pig farmer makes massive losses." Since retail prices are stable, "we assume that the farmers earn good money within the food chain," criticized Rukwied. The farmer's president was also annoyed by the frequent bait offers in the supermarkets: "We are already aware that there have to be promotions every now and then. But the constant advertising with low prices is unacceptable."

The Federal Association of the German Grocery Trade (BVLH) rejected the criticism. The decline in meat producer prices since the beginning of the year has several causes, said BVLH spokesman Christian Böttcher. The outbreak of African swine fever in the Federal Republic reduced demand, especially from China. At the same time, sales to gastronomy and bulk consumers collapsed due to the Corona crisis. The food trade was left as a stable sales channel for meat and sausage.

. (tagsToTranslate) Economy (t) Germany (t) Lidl (t) German Farmers' Association (t) Food Prices (t) Food Industry (t) Julia Klöckner