Saturday, 15 January, 2022

Agriculture: what Macron, Filon, Mélenchon, Le Pen and Hamon offer

Marine Le Pen, whose popularity is growing among farmers, lambasted Europe and promised to “francize” agricultural aid before the 71st FNSEA congress, where François Fillon pledged to fight against “excess” charges and standards and Emmanuel Macron defended a “Marshall plan” of five billion euros. Agriculture in France is about 475,000 farms for 75 billion euros of agricultural products. A significant sector that the presidential candidates have obviously not forgotten in their program. While the FNSEA, in congress in Brest this week, receives some of them this Thursday, Challenges takes stock of the proposals, not exhaustive, of the main contenders for the Elysee on this theme.

Francois Fillon

François Fillon proposes in particular to transform the deduction for contingencies into a “climatic and economic contingency savings account”. The objective: that this account is funded during the years of good harvest and used in the event of unforeseen circumstances. A measure that aims to secure the income of farmers.

Other elements whose aim is to improve the economic lot of farmers: “to regulate the negotiation of contracts by law”. Negotiations between producers on the one hand and industrialists on the other are often singled out by farmers who demand a fair price for their production. In the same vein, François Fillon wants to allow farmers to group together in producer organizations so that they can better defend their margins.

On the European level, the candidate LR wishes to “base the CAP 2020 on risk management and on investment support” and wants to maintain the current budget “down to the euro”. He also wants Europe to defend farmers by applying Community preference and for that, proposes reforming competition law.

François Fillon also tackles the issue of standards. He wants to “drastically simplify the law of agricultural enterprises” and repeal all the standards added to European texts.

Another defended measure: the reduction of 35 billion euros in charges and taxes weighing on all businesses, which therefore includes agricultural businesses.

Emmanuel Macron

Like François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron wishes to strengthen the weight of producers during negotiations with manufacturers and distribution. He too wants to encourage the development of producer organizations for this purpose. It also wishes to set up a “Grenelle de alimentation” bringing together farmers, manufacturers, distributors and consumers to “define a balanced sharing of value”.

At European level, Emmanuel Macron wants to put in place “regulatory tools” to react to price volatility as well as “risk management tools”. Nationally, Emmanuel Macron also wants to grant a right to unemployment to farmers “to enable them to overcome periods of decline in activity”. Emmanuel Macron also promises to lighten the charges.

Another promise of the candidate of En Marche: the launch of an agricultural transformation plan of 5 billion euros over 5 years to modernize farms having a positive impact on the environment and animal welfare and encourage short circuits . 200 million per year, within the framework of the CAP, will also be allocated to the remuneration of farmers for their “environmental services”.

Emmanuel Macron also wants to define a timetable to phase out pesticides and support innovation by developing digital technology and precision agriculture, among others.

Benoît Hamon

Two axes emerge from the proposals of the socialist candidate Benoît Hamon: on the one hand a series of measures to protect farmers, particularly in terms of their income, and on the other hand measures to encourage and support the agricultural and ecological transition.

Benoît Hamon also wishes to strengthen the weight of farmers in negotiations between producers and manufacturers and distributors. He thus promises to modify the agricultural modernization law of 2010 to rebalance the contracts between producers and buyers. It also wants to put in place “market regulation mechanisms” and create “risk management instruments”. Objective: to fight against price volatility.

Regarding the agricultural transition, Benoît Hamon particularly wants to encourage organic and this involves a reduced rate VAT on products from organic farming. He wants to direct CAP aid towards “managers of small and medium-sized farms, or who have chosen to move away from the productivist model”. Finally, he promises to gradually ban pesticides as well as endocrine disruptors. Benoît Hamon also announced an investment program of 5 billion euros to develop agroecology, organic products and short circuits.

Marine Le Pen

The National Front candidate defends “economic patriotism” for French agricultural products, in particular through public procurement. It also wishes to reject free trade agreements such as TAFTA and CETA and to develop short circuits.

Marine Le Pen promises to “transform the Common Agricultural Policy into a French Agricultural Policy” and ensures that the amount of aid will be preserved during this transformation.

Marine Le Pen also wants to “ban the import of agricultural and food products that do not meet French production standards” and clearly indicate the origin of the products sold. It also promises to “stop the explosion of administrative standards”.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Jean-Luc Mélenchon wants to facilitate the installation of young farmers. How? ‘Or’ What? By limiting the concentration of land and expansion and by creating 300,000 agricultural jobs in 10 years thanks to “remunerative prices and an overhaul of the CAP”.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon also wants to stop farm factory projects, ban chemical pesticides but also encourage organic farming and short circuits. It provides for a law to plan the ecological transition of agriculture with a 10-year transition calendar.

The candidate of rebellious France also proposes to “cap the margins of large-scale distribution by a limited multiplier”. A measure which aims to ensure “remunerative prices for producers”.

He also wants to block free trade agreements like TAFTA or CETA.

And the others?

François Asselineau who wants to leave the European Union proposes to set floor prices to protect the income of farmers. He wants to reach 600,000 farmers in 2022 via a protective national agricultural policy. Jacques Cheminade proposes to put an end to negotiations on free trade treaties such as CETA and TAFTA, to restructure farmers’ debt or to promote short circuits. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan wants, among other things, to obtain an “agricultural exception” for France from the WTO. He also wants to re-establish guaranteed prices, community preference and quotas in the CAP or to get out of it. He also wants to refuse transatlantic treaties. Philippe Poutou wants to achieve 100% organic agriculture in 10 years.