“The role of the public authorities is to quantify the environmental services rendered, and to remunerate them in proportion”

Tribune. In recent days, the defenders of organic farming have protested against the weak support given to organic farming in the French programming of the new common agricultural policy (CAP). As soon as their calculations regarding the drop in support were communicated, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food defended itself from an attempt at manipulation aimed at distorting the chosen trade-offs.

Two figures then clashed: organic advocates complaining of a 66% drop in aid and the ministry retorting to increase the same aid by 36%. Faced with this cacophony of information, few have managed to detect the true from the false. It is important that the public debate is clear, precise, transparent. I deplore the doubt that has arisen on the subject of support for organic farming, catalyzed by the absence of pedagogy regarding the various positions taken.

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For me, it is essential that this technocratic subject be made intelligible, so that everyone can exercise their role of monitoring public action and politics. In 2017, “maintenance aid”, paid to organic farmers to enable them to financially compensate for their additional efforts necessary for virtuous cultivation practices, were abolished.

Organic sold more expensive than conventional

The abolition of this aid was perceived as a budgetary necessity, in a context of increasing conversions to organic farming, with a target of 25% of organic surfaces in 2030; the sums would have become colossal. On this point, it seems that everyone agrees, despite the speeches made publicly. In particular because of the value creation that organic farming allows on the market, organic products being sold at a higher price than conventional.

Conversely, paying for environmental services provided by farmers was a strong demand expressed by farmers, organic but not only. The main reason: the market cannot precisely remunerate the environmental services rendered.

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It is easy to imagine a consumer opting for organic rather than conventional butter if his wallet allows it; one can imagine less a consumer gauging the environmental services rendered by the farm producing his butter, and knowingly deciding to grant him a few cents more for this purpose. It is indeed the role of the public authorities to quantify the environmental services provided and to remunerate them in proportion.

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