Agriculture: Produce high quality food locally and sustainably
The agricultural sector, which includes farming, viticulture, fruit and vegetable growing, reliably provides people with high-quality food from local production. The Corona crisis and the Ukraine war have made many citizens aware of the value and importance of domestic food production. Especially with regard to food security, agriculture plays an essential role. The DP therefore wants to further strengthen the status of agriculture, assist the sector in digitisation and the use of state-of-the-art technologies, and offer consumers an even greater variety of high-quality products from Luxembourg production.
Agriculture also plays a key role in environmental protection, preserving biodiversity and combating climate change. This is not only about reducing our own emissions, but also about land management that strengthens the resilience of natural habitats and helps to sequester more carbon. For the DP, farmers and winegrowers are important partners who must be supported as much as possible in the transition to the most environmentally friendly and resource-conserving production possible.
In the coming years, the DP will continue to work on ensuring a decent income for agricultural enterprises and strengthen their competitiveness, support family farms and niche segments in particular, and diversify agricultural production. We will actively support the generational change in agriculture, both when taking over a farm and when starting a farm.
The DP-led government has set the course for a forward-looking agriculture in the last legislative period, among others with the National Strategic Plan (PSN) for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from 2023 to 2027, the new Agriculture Act, the Action Plan PAN Bio 2025, and the updated Energy and Climate Plan. Based on this, the DP will draw up a mission statement for agriculture after 2027.
The DP attaches great importance to regular exchanges between government and agriculture within the framework of a Future Table and to finding joint answers to the major challenges. In doing so, we will closely monitor the situation of the sector and anticipate future developments as best we can.
Food and agriculture are two sides of the same coin. The DP will expand the expertise areas of responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture to include all nutrition-related aspects. In this context, the main goal is to further promote awareness regarding healthy nutrition and the appreciation of local and seasonal food. For the purpose of improved advice and more frequent controls, the DP will extend the scope of competence of the Luxembourg Veterinary and Food Administration (ALVA) and make additional staff available to it.
It is of great importance for the DP to support future generations in agriculture and to secure the future of the sector. Building on the new agricultural law, which has already created new and increased aid to make it easier to start up or take over a farm, young farmers are to be given more support to build up as much know-how as possible in order to run their farm in the best possible way. The DP will also expand advice on setting up an agricultural business.
The DP will work to further modernise and expand the learning programmes of the Lycée Technique Agricole (LTA). The new technologies are playing an increasingly important role in everyday farming, so prospective farmers should be familiarised with them from the outset and acquire the necessary skills.
In addition, DP will also expand the range of advisory services and training opportunities in this area to enable experienced farmers to keep up to date with the latest knowledge and technology.
Agriculture in Luxembourg is still strongly characterised by milk and meat production, while other sectors, such as the cultivation of fruit and vegetables or poultry farming, play a less important role. The DP will consistently promote agricultural diversification and also give greater support to niche products such as hemp, quinoa or soy. Since the switch to alternative products has been slow despite several efforts in recent years, the DP will investigate the reasons for this, adjust the framework conditions and, if necessary, create additional financial incentives.
For example, the DP will simplify the approval procedure for the construction of greenhouses, as fruit and vegetable cultivation in this country can often only take place in them. Ideally, greenhouses should function in a climate-neutral and energy-efficient way, for example by coupling them to a biogas plant.
In view of the increasingly noticeable effects of global warming, it is particularly important to promote crops that are adapted to the changing climatic conditions and are more drought-resistant, which will also reduce the risk of yield and quality losses. In addition, instead of monocultures, the rotation of different plant species should be increased.
Today, the seed market is dominated by large agricultural corporations, which can afford the costly tests and certificates needed to register their seeds in the European catalogue of varieties. However, since industrial seeds are often non-reproducible hybrid seeds, farmers are dependent on the product range of a few agricultural corporations. The DP would like to bring the use of farmer-grown seeds back to the forefront, because sowing the harvested seeds over the years produces very robust seeds adapted to the local climate and soil.
The DP will therefore liberalise the seed market in Luxembourg. Local farmers and private individuals should be given the opportunity to buy or sell and propagate local varieties, even if they are not registered in the EU Catalogue of Varieties or the National Catalogue of Varieties. Traditional, farmer-grown seeds can make an important contribution to adapting agriculture to climate change, enhancing biodiversity and improving environmental protection, as resilient crops can reduce the use of plant protection products.
Refer to the chapter on Sustainability
Refer to the chapter on Sustainability
Refer to chapter on Sustainability
In the eyes of the DP, Luxembourg agricultural production is synonymous with local products of the highest quality, which are generally also more environmentally friendly due to the shorter transport routes. The DP is committed to increasing the use of local and regional products, especially in schools, maisons relais, day-care centres, hospitals and retirement and nursing homes.
Furthermore, the DP supports the marketing of the products of local producers and will continue to promote and expand initiatives and structures in this regard. Labels play an important role in this context. The DP will evaluate and, if necessary, adapt the national quality and certification system for agricultural products, which was launched during the last legislative period.
Organic agriculture not only plays an important role in the context of agricultural diversification, it also provides answers to issues of nature conservation, water protection, biodiversity, and generally a careful and long-term use of natural resources. On the one hand, the demand for local organic products is currently stagnating, on the other hand, Luxembourg ranks 3rd in the EU in terms of consumption of such products.
The DP will analyse the current situation of the organic farming sector together with its representatives and, if necessary, take additional measures to support it more. The goal must be ambitious, but still realistic. The funds for this must be made available in a targeted manner. It is equally important to provide good support and advice to farmers who want to convert to organic farming. The DP will review to what extent the PAN-Bio 2025 Action Plan can be made even more practice-oriented, both in terms of production and marketing.
Agriculture plays an essential role in the fight against climate change. On the one hand, it is important to achieve one’s own emission reduction targets; on the other hand, sustainable land management contributes to the preservation of biodiversity as well as to the organic storage of carbon.
For example, the DP will specifically support farmers in reducing ammonia emissions in cattle farming by subsidising the implementation of the relevant measures and the switch to emission-reducing methods via the Agriculture Act, such as measures concerning the housing of animals, the reduction of the use of slurry, manure and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser as well as balanced animal feeding without protein surplus.
In addition, DP will further expand existing climate and environmental programmes with appropriate funding. Based on the experience with the current premium system, it will be reviewed whether and to what extent the various regulations with their corresponding financial framework need to be adjusted.
In view of the increasingly noticeable effects of global warming, it is important to strengthen the resilience of agriculture in the face of the impacts of climate change. Specifically, we will promote agroforestry through additional subsidies. The combination of trees and arable crops helps to better withstand drought, protects soils from erosion and strengthens biodiversity by creating new habitats.
In addition, we will promote crops adapted to changing climatic conditions and more drought-resistant crops, as well as the rotation of different plant species instead of monocultures. Finally, the DP supports regenerative agriculture, which aims at climate-resilient, restorative and long-term economic land use, as well as solidarity farming initiatives.
Climate change is a global challenge with local impacts such as storms, floods and droughts. The DP is committed to making multi-peril insurance more attractive. In this context, the meteorological stations of the Agricultural Technical Services Administration (ASTA) will also be further developed and the relevant information will continue to be made available to all farmers.
Refer to the chapter on Sustainability
Refer to the chapter on Sustainability
The DP advocates the sustainable use of plant protection products to ensure the preservation of biodiversity and the protection of our surface waters and springs. Accordingly, the strategic plan for the CAP 2023 to 2027 provides for a number of measures to reduce the use of plant protection products, which will be available to farmers, winegrowers and market gardeners from 2023.
The DP will ensure that any additional costs incurred by not using plant protection products are compensated with subsidies. In addition, we will expand education and training in the context of pesticide reduction and strengthen awareness in this regard.
The DP will continue to advocate for a phase-out of glyphosate and will examine ways in which a national ban can be enforced. In parallel, the DP supports the voluntary abandonment of glyphosate through corresponding subsidies. At the EU level, we will continue to campaign for the authorisation of glyphosate not to be renewed at the end of 2023.
Under the leadership of the then DP Minister of Agriculture, the most modern animal welfare law in Europe was passed in Luxembourg in 2018. The DP will continue to pay attention to the accurate implementation of the law and carry out more inspections. Violations of the Animal Welfare Act are to be consistently prosecuted, both for farm animals and pets. In this context, the DP will create a contact point in the form of an ombudsperson to whom citizens can report violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
In addition, the DP will advocate for stronger animal welfare at the European level. In particular, we will campaign for a ban on fur farms, stricter regulations on animal transport and a ban on the export of live animals to non-EU slaughterhouses.
Finally, the DP advocates that animal testing in the EU should be mandatorily aligned with the ethical principle of “3Rs” (Replace, Reduce, Refine). In concrete terms, this means that animal experiments are to be kept to a strict minimum and replaced by other methods. Only in those cases where animal experiments prove to be unavoidable should they be permitted under strict conditions, and the number of experiments and the stress to which the animals are subjected should be kept as low as possible.
The DP will support additional measures to protect fawns during mowing and expand existing pilot projects. The fawn rescue by drone, which is currently being carried out as part of a pilot project in the west of the country, is to be extended to the whole country.
Digitalisation also offers great opportunities in the agricultural sector: Drones for data collection, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT) – state-of-the-art technologies enable, for example, a more precise use of fertilisers and pesticides and thus not only contribute to an increase in efficiency in production, but also lead to a more climate and environmentally friendly cultivation of agricultural land.
The DP will therefore develop a strategy for the digitisation of agriculture. The goal is to promote precision agriculture and put it into practice through concrete measures and government subsidies. The DP will also strengthen research in this area and promote innovative projects to develop new approaches to the challenges of agriculture, such as vertical farming.
The EU decision to set aside 4% of a farm’s arable land is often criticised as not being effective, as this leads to a reduction in food production and it is also not known how much this measure contributes to biodiversity. We therefore advocate a critical analysis of this measure.
Every year, an average of 88.5 kg of food per inhabitant ends up in the waste, a large part of which could be avoided. The DP wants to reduce food waste to an absolute minimum and to this end will consistently continue and expand the efforts of the past years.
Thus, we will organise regular awareness-raising and information campaigns to increase citizens’ awareness. We will also support different initiatives and projects, such as “antigaspi” fridges or the sale of food that does not meet standards, as well as deepening cooperation with all stakeholders in the production and recycling chain.
Already today, many supermarkets donate unsold but still edible food to charity. The DP will examine the usefulness of creating a legal framework that prohibits the disposal of edible food by, among others, businesses and canteens.
Especially in state canteens, the DP will ensure that food waste is reduced to an absolute minimum. In order to ensure better planning security, DP will therefore charge parents who do not sign their children out at the canteen for lunch in future.
The Agriculture Table introduced by the DP Minister of Agriculture, consisting of government and representatives of the food and agriculture sector, plays an important role in finding consensual responses to important issues facing the sector. The DP will ensure that the Agriculture Table continues to be convened regularly, involved in all important decisions and specifically involved in the preparation of the new National Strategic Plan (PSN).
Through the energetic utilisation of liquid manure, dung, food leftovers and other organic waste, biogas plants can make an important contribution to the circular economy. DP will continue to support energy production by means of a biogas plant through an attractive feed-in tariff. However, to ensure sustainable management, we will reduce the energy use of crops planted specifically for this purpose.
Refer to the chapter on Sustainability
Many farms are dependent on foreign seasonal workers at harvest time, increasingly also from third countries, as there are not enough workers available within the EU. The DP advocates for the simplification of procedures and labour laws for the employment of seasonal workers.
Viticulture has a long tradition in Luxembourg and has an outstanding cultural significance for our country. It is also an important factor for the tourism industry as well as Luxembourg’s image in the world. The DP will consistently continue the efforts of the past years and secure the future of viticulture. The effects of climate change are also increasingly being felt in this area, which is why more sustainable management that adapts to the changing climatic conditions is essential. The DP will actively support the winegrowers with advice and subsidies.
In addition, the DP will prevent more and more land within the vineyard perimeter from remaining unused. For this reason, we will create instruments that enable further production on these areas.
The winegrowers have also already made considerable efforts, especially in the use of plant protection products. For fungal diseases, however, their targeted use has so far remained without any real alternative. Therefore, research in the context of plant disease control should be supported in order to bring alternatives to current plant protection products, to gradually gain control over the diseases and to reduce the use of plant protection products as much as possible. Likewise, the use of fungus-resistant grape varieties (Piwi’s) should be further researched and promoted.
The DP will also continue to develop the marketing of local wine both in Luxembourg and abroad, and will examine how this can be further improved.