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Shy refocusing of French grain farmers in congress

The General Assembly of Wheat Producers (AGPB) branch union of the FNSEA in the straw cereals sector, holds today the second and last day of congress in Compiegne, in the Oise. In the document released Tuesday to the press on the stakes of these two days of exchanges, we can read that over time, "the French society has become intractable on the quality of its diet, and it is more than ever attentive the preservation of the earth, the keystone of food security ".

Returned to the port of Rouen for export, the ton of wheat is currently worth 195 €. This price is quite stable since the middle of August 2018 when it was 170 € a year ago and 150 € two years ago. The price rally since the summer of 2018 is attributable to the reduction in global stocks due to lower yields following the drought that hit many exporting countries last year. As a result, no longer paralyzed as in the previous two years by the question of income, the AGPB officials note that a "gap is growing between the agricultural world and the French. The production model adopted by the former is increasingly challenged by the latter (…) The question is primarily environmental. Global warming, loss of biodiversity, soil pollution, are all issues that the French are increasingly attentive. Agriculture is particularly singled out for its farming activities, considered polluting and energy-intensive, and for its use of plant protection products, which is considered to be primarily responsible for the loss of biodiversity in our countryside ".

The glyphosate of discord and distortion of competition

If the word "glyphosate" does not appear in the text, the allusion exists and grain farmers have welcomed with relief the recent remarks of Emmanuel Macron in the Drôme. The President of the Republic confirmed them at the Elysee last Monday before the president of the FNSEA. It recognized that, in many cases, prohibiting the use of this molecule in France on certain crops – without there being any alternative solution and this is not the case in the other countries of the European Union- created a distortion of competition to the detriment of only French farmers in a Europe with 27 countries.

Taking note of this relaxation, the AGPB indicates that "cereal farmers wish to enter a process of progress, constructive, and that does not go against their economic interests. It is in this logic that the AGPB has defined a new strategic course. It has several objectives: to meet societal expectations on environmental and health issues; economically valorize the efforts provided and to be provided by grain producers; urge public authorities to support this transition; get out of the spiral of non-constructive constraints; bring consumers closer to their producers.

We noted a few days ago a similar evolution of the seed farmers' speech of the "National Group of Seeds and Plants" better known under the acronym GNIS which means "Geographic Names Information System". So it seems that we have a concerted evolution. The AGPB commissioned a survey to try to measure French expectations of grain farmers. This survey, we are told, "reveals a positive and strong image capital but expectations in the fundamental areas for consumers. And to improve it further, grain producers must, as the AGPB has decided to engage in, find a new strategic course … "says the presentation text of the congress.

We are still far from agroecology at the beginning of the 21st century

During his meeting with the press on Tuesday, Philippe Pinta, president of the AGPB, explained that the grain farmers were willing to engage in what is called a "social and environmental responsibility". However, both in his remarks and in the 17-page document given to journalists, there is never any question of privileging no-till, long rotations resulting in a greater number of crops on the same plot, or the systematization of -cultures which, after grinding, enrich the soils in organic matter while capturing carbon; what a bare ground does not do after harvesting a rapeseed in the summer while waiting for a sowing of wheat in autumn. These agronomic practices have however proved their relevance for more than twenty years on the farms that use them. Some of the cereal farmers involved in this agro-ecological approach are members of the AGPB. But we can not say that their president encourages them in this way. However, in France as in Europe and all over the world, it is vital to promote agriculture that makes nature work intelligently, both to feed the world's population and to curb global warming in the coming decades.

It should be added that the language elements of the AGPB communication campaign that will soon be appearing in some media only tell three operators and two operators that they are "proud" to work as a grain farmer.


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