French NGOs express need for paradigm change

During the Salon de l’Agriculture which took place in Paris this week, French NGOs took the opportunity to express their points of view on the CAP reform. Many of these points of view were taken up by French media… 

© Salon de l'Agriculture

Le Monde: French agriculture must be reoriented now – French NGOs

About thirty NGOs and their representatives called upon the French presidential election candidates to resolve the negative impact of European farming systems on the environment, health, food sovereignty in developing countries, soil and climate change, stating the recent measures taken by the French government will only make things worse. As many experiences, initiatives and lives show that it is possible to provide alternative farming systems, the group demanded commitments on:

  • agricultural governance that should include civil society
  • reaching 20% of organic farming in France by 2020
  • reducing the use of pesticides by 50%
  • the generation renewal
  • the role of farmers in crop selections
  • forbidding GMO in France
  • defending a green, fair and common CAP
  • a strong budget to support small-scale organic farms in developing countries
  • keeping and reinforcing market-regulation instruments.

Le Figaro: Is the CAP still able to change agriculture ? – Nicolas Hulot and Marc Dufumier, Fondation Nicolas Hulot

Representatives of FNH wonder if the next CAP will enable our agriculture to improve on environmental, social and equity aspects.

Agriculture has lost 25% of its workers over the last decade, with related poverty affecting more and more farmers around the European Union. Moreover the negative environmental and healt impacts are well known: soil, climate change, water, diseases… The CAP today is far removed from citizen demands, particularly in terms of organic and quality food. Some stakeholders continue to promote exports of European products, although it is well known that the problem is not food quantity but access for all.

The environment and equity measures must be the baseline for the next CAP. They asked for a quick end to historical references for direct payments and a better sharing of subsidies between farmers, farming systems and Member States. Moreover a 30% greening of direct payments, along with ambitious ecological measures while thinking about less red tape, is the least that can be done to reflect the requests of society.

Le Monde: France and the European Union don’t need to feed the World – Jacques Berthelot, Solidarité/FoodSovCap

Jacques Berthelot explained that France and the EU are not feeding the rest of the world. He first focused on the fact that official French views state that France is the biggest exporting country in Europe and the second one in the world. However, according to the FAO, France is only the seventh for surplus food exports, except fisheries.

He stressed that, with the exception of wine and spirit exports, France has a food deficit of 1 billion Euros on average with developing countries. And this assessment would have been worse if those exports had not been subsidised…

The European Union and France aim to introduce better protection from countries that do not respect social and environmental standards of the EU. However, according to Berthelot, this strategy would simply reinforce the food deficit in the EU, accelerate the loss of agricultural jobs and destroy agroecological farming systems.