“We are facing a crisis of meaning which is resolved over time and through concrete action,” explains the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau.

“We are facing a crisis of meaning which is resolved over time and through concrete action,” explains the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau.

The Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau. Midi Libre – MiKAEL ANISSET

The Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, discusses the agricultural bill which arrives at the National Assembly this Tuesday.

How is the agricultural world today ? Do you still feel under tension ?

I feel him waiting for something concrete. Farmers know that something has changed but wonder what it will look like in the long term. They expressed 25 years of frustrations and misunderstandings, something of this nature doesn't go down like that.

We are facing a crisis of meaning which is resolved over time and through concreteness.

You precisely wanted the bill which will be discussed from this Tuesday in the Assembly to allow the agricultural world to find "meaning& quot;. How ?

The meaning is explained in article 1 and the variation of what we wish to do with agriculture in terms of sovereignty takes shape throughout the bill.

“We are facing a crisis of meaning which is resolved over time and through concrete action,” explains the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau.

L’article 1 enshrines in the law the major general interest nature of agriculture, what purpose does this serve ? This allows to say that there must be a principle of balance between industrial, energy, ecological and agricultural expectations and that we must judge an agricultural project also in this light of the imperative of food sovereignty.

Justice will be able to rule on this need for balance.

Aiming for food sovereignty means repatriating production to France as we were able to do for medicines ?

This means finding a trajectory that allows us to cover our agricultural needs. Certain areas are in tension such as livestock farming (40% of the poultry we eat is not produced in France, 50% for sheep) fruits and vegetables , vegetable proteins and fertilizers.

Sovereignty is not self-sufficiency but it means that we do not suffer from our dependencies. It’s being master of your destiny. It’s choosing your interdependencies.

This text should make it possible to facilitate land transfers but a major article was rewritten on the creation of agricultural land investment groups (GFAI).

Oppositions accuse you of wanting to financialize access to land. It’s true?

This is incorrect. Agricultural land in France is not held by the public authorities…hellip; The funds that support and support agriculture are private: individuals or banks. So it’s finance. We want to allow as many people as possible to contribute to access to land for farmers.

You propose that financial structures buy agricultural land and rent it to farmers…

No, not financial structures. We want public but also private funds to enable new settlers in agriculture to have access to land. Millions of hectares will change hands but too few buyers will be able to cope financially.

To remove any ambiguity, we will clarify the text to ensure that operators remain independent of their investors.

Environmental defense associations are concerned because you wish to modify by ordinance the repression of certain environmental attacks, by reclassifying as example of criminal sanctions in administrative sanctions. Why do this ?

If you tear out 20 meters of hedges, today you potentially risk 5 years in prison and a 400,000 euro fine. You're going to tell me: it's never applied but then what's the point?? It's bottling up justice and there's something infamous and excessive about it compared to offenses that I consider more serious. If there is a fault, it will be fined. We can also do repairs. Someone who has torn out 20 meters of hedge, we can ask him to replant 20 or 40…hellip; I will make a proposal in the bill so that this subject is discussed in session.

Many amendments were rejected, notably those relating to prices, but this is the main concern of farmers. Carrot at 0.66 euros per kg in certain supermarkets, is this reasonable??

I'd like to know where these carrots come from…hellip;


If we do not want to face competition from other European countries, we must not hinder the legs and arms of our farmers. This is the question of simplification and the fight against overtranspositions.

Second element: if we set a floor price, we can only do it for French carrots and therefore that is not enough, hence the idea of a European EGALIM.

Finally, I think the battle is philosophical when it comes to mass distribution. We have a battle of opinion to wage to say that agriculture has a cost, and therefore must have a price. Another subject excluded from the law, the Ecophyto plan which will be the subject of a separate text in the fall.

Are you going to respond to the demand of farmers who want less restricted access to these products ?

I asked my delegate minister to look at which molecules were banned in France and authorized elsewhere. In truth, there are quite few. There are molecules whose use is restricted, however, in France. And this is what we must move forward on.

What farmers also need is to find alternatives to phytosanitary products. 150 million euros will be dedicated each year to the search for alternatives.

Farmers are worried because all of the CAP aid has still not been paid. Where are we??

The aid corresponds to 9 billion euros, we have paid 8. The balance must be paid by the State and the regions. We still have to honor the latest aid on agri-environmental measures and organic aid. Everything should be sold out by June.

Are you afraid that the RN will use the debate which begins Tuesday in the hemicycle as a platform before the Europeans ?

I haven't seen many proposals from the RN. On agricultural policy, one proposal that I have heard is to get out of trade agreements. We will have to explain this to the dairy farmers, the cereal growers, to those who sell wine or cheese who depend greatly on exports and successfully lead global competition.

The other proposal is national food preference. If we do this, the other neighbors will take retaliatory measures and what will we gain from it? This does not prevent us from thinking about local preference and that is what we intend to pursue in Egalim.

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