Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

Emmanuel Macron inaugurates the Salon de l’Agriculture


By declining an ambition of “food sovereignty” for Europe, Emmanuel Macron inaugurates Saturday morning February 23 in Paris the exhibition of a French agriculture torn between requests for environmental improvement and the desire to maintain its rank in the face of European competition . Rather than the evils of the rural world that he considers to have addressed in his major debates, the Head of State will focus his speech on his European vision of agriculture, while the negotiations to develop the future common agricultural policy (CAP) have just started and the European elections are getting closer.

Emmanuel Macron called for “reinventing” the common agricultural policy (CAP) in order to ensure the “food, environmental and industrial sovereignty” of the European continent, Saturday, at the opening of the agricultural fair in Paris. “Agricultural Europe today is threatened from the outside” and “from the inside”, declared the President of the Republic, calling for unity and stressing that “without the CAP, European consumers cannot would not benefit from an accessible and quality food “.

“The president will launch a call for mobilization for the CAP and for European unity. Faced with the great powers such as Russia, China and the United States, which are making their agriculture a strategic issue, the Europeans must succeed in being partners and not competitors “, had previously explained the Elysee. He should recall his vision: that Europe regain its food sovereignty, including the autonomy of its animal feed supplies, 70% dependent on imported soybeans, and that the CAP protects farmers and consumers, explained the entourage of the President.

If French farmers expect a lot from the CAP, they also have immediate demands: to sell their products at prices that allow them to live, to invest in order to have greener farms, and not to be constantly criticized, what they call the “agri-bashing”. “We are going to ban this word and do agri-acting,” FNSEA president Christiane Lambert said at a press conference this week.

Stop “taking the peasants for scapegoats”

The show is an opportunity “to explain that agriculture is beautiful, it’s good, that French food is the best in the world and that farmers make quality products. must be positive, it is positive agriculture “, for his part declared the Minister of Agriculture, Didier Guillaume, to the press on Friday. However, he deplores “that there is still a farmer who commits suicide every two days”.

A rural drama that motivated Patrick Maurin, local elected representative of Marmande (Lot-et-Garonne) to take his pilgrim’s staff, and to walk 250 km from Le Touquet, Macron’s resort, to Paris, where he arrived Friday. His wish: to hand over to the Head of State on Saturday a book of “grievances” telling of the moral distress of the agricultural world.

To fight against this “unbearable” situation, said Didier Guillaume, “we need better working conditions, above all we need better income, and we must stop pointing the finger, taking the peasants for scapegoats, they don’t are not “. The minister is counting on the recently passed Food Law to rebalance farmers’ incomes.

Between 650,000 and 700,000 visitors expected

If 85% of French people have a good opinion of farmers, according to an Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting survey for France Info and Le Figaro, agriculture is struggling to make young people and job seekers dream, while the profession lacks arms.

A major problem, which raises the question of the very sustainability of French agriculture: “a third of professionals” will cease their activity by 2022, according to Xavier Heinzlé, of Young Farmers.

The tension will perhaps not be only in the heads of the farmers, but will also come from the outside: while the yellow vests will live Saturday the act 15 of their movement, some of their leaders felt their way this week, for themselves. invite to the largest farm in France and try to challenge the head of state.

According to the organizers, the same safety device as usual is planned, adaptable in the event of a possible outbreak of “yellow vests”. The show, which lasts nine days, expects between 650,000 and 700,000 visitors.

(With AFP)

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