Three organic label farmers took the state to court on Friday February 22 for late payment of European subsidies, which threaten the sustainability of some farms, said on Saturday the president of the National Federation of Organic Agriculture (FNAB) Guillaume Riou. “We have filed three complaints with three administrative courts, in Poitiers, Nantes and in Ain, for late payment of organic aid for three years, from 2016 to 2018. This is a first,” said Mr. Riou to AFP, on the sidelines of the inauguration of the agricultural fair on Saturday in Paris, confirming information published in Le Parisien.
“Several tens of thousands of organic farmers are awaiting payment” for this aid, he added, stressing the “injustice” of this situation which slows down the development of organic agriculture while consumption explodes . “Many members (at the FNAB, NDR) are in difficulties, there are ongoing liquidations, a real paralysis, linked to a problem of technical examination of the grant application files which was not anticipated” by the French administration, he explained.
The complaints are aimed in particular at the Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume, the directors of the Services and Payment Agency (ASP), a public body responsible for making payments of European subsidies, as well as the representatives of the management authority of the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy, ie the presidents of the regions concerned.
“Major administrative dysfunctions”
“We have exhausted all remedies, non-violent media acts, symbolic actions, or even the seizure of the defender of rights,” added Mr. Riou, a farmer in Deux Sèvres and breeder of vegetable cows. Repayment requests range from 29,000 to 54,000 euros over the three years, he said.
Questioned by students of agricultural high schools on February 7 during a meeting of the “great debate” in Etang-Sur-Arroux (Saone-et-Loire), President Emmanuel Macron had promised that the delays in payments for the years 2016 and 2017 were going to be sold “in the spring”, by March 15th.
The Ministry of Agriculture had indicated that there were 290 million euros of these organic aids to be paid (for the years in question), on which farmers had already received 230 million in advances. of cash, or 60 million of fresh money to be paid to them.
Mr. Macron had mentioned “major administrative dysfunctions” in France for the payment of agricultural aid, linked to “computer and technical problems”. But he praised organic as one of the “ways forward” of French agriculture, deploring that France is in deficit and imports “for a billion euros of organic”.