Bavaria: Picking strawberries yourself helps Bavarian farmers

High production costs and insufficient sales revenues are a problem for many strawberry farmers, including in Bavaria.

Bavaria: Picking strawberries yourself helps Bavarian farmers

High production costs and insufficient sales revenues are a problem for many strawberry farmers, including in Bavaria. But some regional differences are inexplicable even for experts.

Munich (dpa / lby) - The Bavarian fruit farmers are quite satisfied with their strawberry harvest this year - but they are making less and less money with it. The costs had exploded, said the Bavarian Farmers' Association.

"The quality of the strawberries is good and so is the quantity," said Lisa-Maria Puschak, consultant for fruit and horticulture. There wasn't much frost damage, and since it warmed up quite quickly this year, vegetation developed well even in regions that are usually late. But fertilizers, energy and packaging material have become much more expensive, the minimum wage for harvest workers has been increased - and "the wage costs are putting considerable pressure on the fruit growers because strawberries are very labour-intensive," said Puschak.

Depending on the region, demand is comparable to normal years before Corona or slightly lower. Sales in the food trade had turned positive before Pentecost, and imported strawberries had declined on the market. However, the sales price for domestic producers does not cover costs.

"In direct marketing, you can ask for a cost-covering price," said the specialist. In Swabia, the business is decent in terms of marketing from the farm, in the sales stands and in the self-picking fields. In Lower Bavaria, however, rather bad. Why that is is a mystery.

The area under cultivation for strawberries in Bavaria in 2021 was almost 1,300 hectares, in Germany a total of 12,500 hectares. Regional cultivation is important for sustainability, both in terms of biodiversity, variety preservation and short transport routes as well as for social factors such as jobs, income for family businesses and consumer education through discussions at the farm shop or on the self-picking fields.

But "strawberry cultivation, like most special crops, will probably decline in the future," said Puschak. With the minimum wage of 12 euros from October, "the situation will worsen next year"; it is 1.5 times higher than in Spain and other growing countries.

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