5. FORUM PeaceBread 2019 – Farmers and bakers call for politics with a sense of proportion

Berlin, October 15th 2019: FORUM PeaceBread: Farmers and bakers call for politics with a sense of proportion

„30 Years Fall of the Berlin Wall: Where farmers plough and bakers bake, there are….“ This was the intriguing headline for the 5th FORUM PeaceBread in Berlin. German Farmers Association (DBV) honorary president and the president of the Central Association of German Craft Bakers (ZVB) Michael Wippler, described in personal und moving contributions their experiences and assessments of the reunification and emphasized at the same time the importance of agriculture and the bakery trade.

At the well attended FORUM PeaceBread, which was moderated in the time-honoured fashion by rbb-journalist Catarina Zanner, the dialogue partners from agriculture and the bakery trade highlighted that “No one can bake their bread alone”. On the contrary, fair relationships are needed all along the food chain, as well as qualified and motivated people. President Wippler and honorary president Sonnleitner agreed: Stable constitutional and social conditions as well as a sensible policy are crucial to guarantee a free and flourishing entrepreneurship along the food chain.

The dialogue partners Sonnleitner and Wippler: Grown up in totally different political systems, in Lower Bavaria and in Dresden, both took over the family business in 1981, are connected with each other by their passion for their professions and trades. Very impressing was the account from Michael Wippler how his bakery – founded over 100 years ago – in Dresden survived the planned economy with its “maintenance of shortages” and came out successful in the end after the German reunification. ”We have received tremendous help from our colleagues in the West”. Gerd Sonnleitner remembered his childhood and how the contact with refugees shaped him and awakened his interest in politics. While his predecessor DBV president Constantin Freiherr Heereman earned well deserved respect for the unity of the representation of the professional interest of the farmers in East and West, Sonnleitner could tie up to this and promote the integration of the Central Eastern associations into the European Farmers Association COPA. As UN Special Envoy for family-run agricultural businesses he experienced many times how important it is that the “owners are present on-site”.

At the beginning of the FORUM in the visitors center of the Memorial for the Berlin Wall the chairman Anton Blöth and the managing director Dr. Gibfried Schenk presented the manifold activities of the voluntarily maintained PeaceBread Association and its European network. Highlight of these activities was the 6th annual European Conference “Peace and Agriculture” at the end of September in Vilnius/Lithuania with many participants from the civil society as well as politics, among them the German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture and patron of the association Julia Klöckner. The minister explicitly acknowledged PeaceBread as a “courageous and strong sign” and “a peace of actively lived European integration” the PeaceBread initiative.

A highly noticed starting point with an important symbolic meaning for the activities of the PeaceBread Association is the cultivated small rye field by the Chapel of Reconciliation on the former death strip of the Berlin Wall on Bernauer street. In his welcoming address, the director of the Berlin Wall Memorial emphasized that he will draw attention to the strong symbolism of this rye field and the PeaceBread to the visiting presidents and other state leaders during the festivities for the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Peter Vermeij, Netherlands President of the Club of Agricultural Diplomats referred to the unity of the agricultural diplomats who have their base in Berlin. He also pointed out that unfortunately there are so many examples on this planet where a bad (agricultural) policy and administration has led to a shortage of food, hunger, turmoil and rebellion

Pictures: Friedensbrot e.V.

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