“The future will only be assured with peasant agriculture based on agroecology”

NOTOur agriculture is in an impasse and the French peasantry has many reasons to be worried about its future. The EGalim laws have not been able to ensure a decent and stable income for most of our farmers. Faced with the prices imposed by large-scale distribution and agro-industries in a situation of oligopolies, many people are no longer able to benefit from sufficient remuneration to satisfy the needs of their families and repay their loans.

Certainly, the balance of our agricultural and food trade balance is positive; but this mainly results from exports of local products: cheeses, protected designation of origin wines, spirits, foie gras, etc. Our surpluses of wheat and milk powders exported to the countries of the South, on the other hand, no longer bring us as much as before. Industrial agriculture practiced in France of a thousand and one terroirs is no longer really competitive on the world market. The error would be to attribute this lack of competitiveness solely to the distortions of competition induced by more restrictive health and environmental standards in France than among our European partners.

How could our least bread-making wheat be competitive with wheat produced in Ukraine or Romania, on farms of several thousand hectares? Our yields per hectare (72 quintals on average) are highbut obtained with very high doses of pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, costly in fossil energy.

Also read the column (2021): Article reserved for our subscribers Agriculture: “Our overconsumption of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers is an ecological, social and economic disaster”

How could irrigated corn one day become profitable in our latitudes, without any subsidies? Was it necessary for us to extend the cultivation of this cereal of Amerindian origin so much, knowing that in the intertropical regions the hot season is that of the rains? For us, it rains the least in summer. We will no doubt therefore have to replace this summer crop very largely with winter cereals.

Milk powder and beets

How could our low-end chickens fed with Brazilian corn and soy be sold at a profitable price, being put in competition with Brazilian (or Ukrainian) chickens? Our large and medium-sized stores, keen to conquer new market shares and sell their goods at low prices, know how to source their supplies from abroad at the lowest cost. And the EGalim law theoretically in force can hardly dissuade them from importing increasing quantities.

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