Even members of the government concede it half-heartedly, French peasants continue to be underpaid for the production of our daily food. Thus, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister responsible for Industry at Bercy write in a joint press release that “the State will therefore continue to intervene with determination to rebalance trade relations, whenever abuses are observed (… ) As the trade negotiations begin, in an uncertain economic context, the ministers also recalled that the services of the DGCCRF (1) will continue in 2021 to make compliance with the EGALIM law one of their priority areas of work ” write Julien Denormandie and Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
In a press release, also common, the agricultural unions FNSEA and Young Farmers note that since the vote of this EGALIM law “the return of value to producers remains limited”, while their press release ends with this paragraph: “added value food production is being created today, and more and more, upstream. Farmers therefore always have more legitimacy to demand fair remuneration! Food sovereignty, an ambition displayed by the President of the Republic, cannot be achieved without a decent income for farmers ”.
When a breeder loses € 150 per animal sold
But how is this income changing today? A press release, this time written by a group of beef breeders from the Massif Central and dated October 12, informs us that “for several weeks, the prices of wattles (2) have continued to drop, in a way that is totally unrelated to market realities. Exports to Italy are stable compared to 2019, and even up over the previous week. The demand from the European market is there. However, for weeks, a breeder has lost € 150 per animal sold! While the price of a broutard should be € 3.25 per kilo based on the national production cost indicator (based on the method validated by the operators of the Interprofession) it is currently 2, 38 € per kilo ”.
This press release also indicates that four exporters negotiate 83% of the calves born in France and sold in Italy to meet the needs of this country. We can therefore think that they have chosen an agreement to steer prices down. They probably thought that the lack of fodder due to the drought that lasted all summer and part of the fall will force breeders to sell off their young cattle because they cannot afford to feed them.
44% of imported chickens consumed in France in 2019
While France is a large agricultural country, we were witnessing a multiplication of paradoxes and inconsistencies. Our country and the largest producer of cereals in the European Union. Cereals are the staple food of poultry, to be traded with chicken. But 44% of chickens consumed in France in 2019 were imported, partly from other member countries of the European Union, for a significant part from third countries such as Brazil and Ukraine, under free-trade agreements. exchange negotiated by the Commission, mandated by the member countries.
In the dairy sector, beef and pork, countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Poland in particular export a lot of finished products. But, they import a lot of soybean meal to feed the dairy cows, cattle and pigs they fatten. In this, European farms contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon. Downstream from production, the export of dairy products and meat to China, Japan and the Middle East requires maintaining the cold chain. The long transports of these finished products added to those of animal feed have a disastrous carbon footprint in the end.
The Dutch counterexample in the Europe of 27
In the European Union, the Netherlands are the biggest exporter of agricultural products far ahead of France while its agricultural area is ten times smaller. The Netherlands imports most of the feed for livestock through the port of Amsterdam, from which also exports of finished products to travel thousands of kilometers before reaching the consumers’ table in Asia or on the other side of the road. ‘other continents.
But it is unlikely that “World Food Day” will be used by the European Commission and member countries of the Union to question the relevance of the Dutch “model”, despite the two texts with sympathetic titles. produced this year by the Commission. The first is called “Green Pact for Europe” and the second is called “From farm to table”. But when we read these two texts, we find no trace of what agroecology should be, any more than the short circuits which are nevertheless essential for a coherent reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
From ADEME’s diagnosis to the mess of signs
In France, “on the occasion of World Food Day, and as part of the implementation of the law on the fight against waste and the circular economy, ADEME is presenting a new tool to support operators in the food industry in carrying out diagnoses, made compulsory by this law by January 2021. Indeed, carrying out a diagnosis makes it possible to identify strong economic and environmental levers. This toolbox allows them to carry out a self-diagnosis in three levels in order to identify the levers for reducing waste and also the achievable economic gains ”, tells us the Environment and Energy Management Agency in a report. press release published on October 14.
Why not are we tempted to say? But what will this diagnosis weigh if these same agri-food companies must, in order to sell their products, continue to undergo pressure from large-scale retailers? Especially when some, like Leclerc and Carrefour, now publish and distribute advertising leaflets of 40 to 96 pages every ten days to highlight the discounts they have snatched from their suppliers, by inviting us to come and fill the shopping carts, quits to waste part of the purchases after having multiplied them?
In reality, with or without “World Food Day”, there can be no food security, nor an effective fight against global warming, without calling into question capitalist globalization based on the race for profits.
Gerard Le Puill