organic surface area objectives erased from the rural code

Votes during late sessions in the National Assembly sometimes give rise to surprises. The examination of the agricultural bill, which has occupied the Hemicycle since Wednesday May 15, is an illustration of this. During the night from Thursday to Friday, the deputies voted on the copious first article of the bill, which completely rewrites article 1 of the rural code, declaring in particular agriculture “of major general interest”.

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But one point went unnoticed during the vote: the rewriting adopted by the National Assembly removes from the rural code the quantified objectives for the development of areas cultivated in organic agriculture and legume crops.

In its current version, the rural code refers to a target of 15% of areas cultivated organically, an objective which was to be achieved in 2022. Two years later, the account is not there, with only 10.4% of organic surfaces. From now on, the reference to a number and a date is no longer mentioned. Likewise, the rural code sets an ambition of 8% of areas cultivated with legumes in 2030; the new text makes it disappear.

“It’s useless to set goals”

These withdrawals did not appear in the initial bill presented by the government, nor in the version voted on in the Economic Affairs Committee and were not debated by the deputies before the vote. However, they appear in a global rewriting amendment, presented by the rapporteurs of the text, including numerous other modifications.

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The subject has generally gone under the radar, drowned out among the 565 sub-amendments tabled. In fact, the examination of article 1 of this bill was particularly chaotic, the sub-amendments being presented successively in a tunnel occupying three parliamentary sessions, without debate until the vote late in the evening.

It was only Friday afternoon, the day after the vote, that the subject emerged in the Hemicycle. It took around ten successive questions, coming from La France insoumise, ecologists and socialists, asking if these quantified objectives were indeed removed from the rural code, for the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, to concede: “Yes, we have removed the mention of an objective for December 31, 2022. This confirms how futile it is to put annual objectives in the law. » And to scath, at the address of the opposition: “You like self-fulfilling prophecies. We think that public policies are more effective. »

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