Cem Özdemir made the comments in a response to a parliamentary question by the CDU/CSU on whether the country was prepared for a sudden halt in gas deliveries from Russia.
“Many companies in the agricultural and food industry are absolutely dependent on the supply of gas in order to be able to produce food or animal feed,” according to the statement by Özdemir, which was obtained by the Rheinische Post newspaper.
“In the event of a halt in natural gas supplies from Russia, further price increases as well as bottlenecks in the supply of individual foodstuffs are to be expected.”
According to Özdemir, gas supply issues would mainly affect crops of vegetables, which could include things like aubergines, cucumbers and peppers. The supply of house and balcony plants grown in greenhouses could also be affected.
However, there could also be an impact on other agricultural businesses such as dairy and meat farms, as well as mills and bakeries.
Overall food supply ‘secure’
In recent months, supermarkets in Germany have been regularly hiking up their prices as they complain of increased costs.
So far, the price rises have mainly been noticeable in the meat and dairy aisles, with sausages, butter and sour cream all among the products affected.
However, panic-buying also led supermarkets to run low on products such as cooking oils and flour as people speculated about disrupted supplies in the early weeks of the Ukraine war.
Russia and Ukraine are both major exporters of wheat, while Ukraine is a major supplier of sunflower oil.
Food suppliers and politicians have repeatedly urged consumers to avoid stockpiling items they think could run low as they play down fears of potential shortages.
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At present, the Ministry for Agriculture doesn’t believe that potential bottlenecks are likely to affect the country’s overall food supply.
“The supply of food in Germany continues to be secure,” the statement from the ministry said.
The government currently assumes that the total supply of gas “can be physically ensured until the end of summer or the beginning of autumn 2022 in the event of a sudden and prolonged stoppage of all Russian gas imports”.
If the supply of vegetables and ornamental plants is affected, this could be compensated for with supplies from other EU countries, the ministry said.
However, consumers may have to contend with further price rises in the supermarket.