CAP & EuropeZ-CAP & Europe

“Behind the issues of international security, geopolitics, it is always about food security and agriculture” Frédéric Descrozaille

Agriculture Strategies organized a press conference on June 13, 2018 in the presence of members of its Strategic Orientation Committee.
Find below the intervention of Frédéric Descrozaille, MP LREM and former Director General of Jeunes Agriculteurs

«In addition to what Olivier has just said in presenting the four pillars we have thought of, I would like to stress the international dimension of this proposal. It makes sense because it is a global approach where agriculture and food are considered global issues.

Without wanting to be too long, I would like to share with you the current situation while going back a bit so that we realize when we dropped out, where we abandoned what was the initial ambition of the post-war CAP.

I will tell you an anecdote, Marcel Mazoyer, present here and member of the Orientation Committee, on an occasion where we worked together in 2013 wondered if I had the means to access the Elysee. He wanted to draw their attention to the situation in Africa where the state apparatus was being dismantled, civil servants weren’t paid, where armed gangs could destabilize all the countries of the Sahel region. It was a year before we heard about Boko Haram and the kidnapping of high school girls from Chibok and two years before they swore allegiance to ISIS in 2015.

Behind the issues of international security, geopolitics, it is always about food security and agriculture

This sect appeared in 2002, rebelled in 2009 in the context that we know, that of soaring food prices. Behind this story, still relevant, we must be aware that behind the issues of international security, geopolitics, it is always about food security and agriculture.

I am convinced that in order to understand the international scene, we must have a reading grid in which, in turn, the issues related to energy, water, food, money and armament. Food security is decisive because today on the entire world population there are about 1 billion people who suffer from hunger, that is to say who can not provide physical effort without losing weight, that do not cover the basic energy requirement of 2500 cal per day. I said a billion while the official figures can vary between 850 million and 1 billion, sometimes to attract attention because on the basis of these figures we could sometimes say “it’s great, there are 50 million less”, but the reality is that it does not fundamentally change, and that beyond the billion people who suffer, there are 2 billion people malnourished, that is to say, who lack micronutrients and who are exposed to serious diseases and developmental problems.

Hunger is the first global health risk: it kills more than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined!

In total, this makes about 3 billion people who do not eat enough in the world. And there are 9 million people every year who die of hunger directly or indirectly. This means that hunger is the first global health risk: it kills more than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined! Of these 9 million deaths, 6 million children under 5 years old, it is truly monstrous. And in addition, this population that is suffering from hunger is essentially in the peasant world. I speak under the control of Marcel – but if you are interested I encourage you to ask directly, it is the best specialist – there are about 1.4 billion agricultural workers in the world, so it is neither more nor less than 40 to45% of workers on the planet! When we talk about agriculture, we have to have this order of magnitude in mind.

We are therefore far from the 3% of assets in France and in the OECD countries, and yet we seek to organize at world level the competition of all of these agricultures as diverse and whose productivity differentials are going from 1 to 2000 or even 5000. For 1.4 billion assets, there are in fact some thirty million tractors and 300 to 350 million draft animals: that means that more than one billion active cultivate in manual labor, and so they can not physically work more than one hectare per active, and on which they can not get enough to feed more than 4 to 5 people.

Contrary to popular belief, it is the rural populations who suffer the most from hunger because if they fail to join two campaigns, that is to say two harvests, if there is the passage of ‘an armed band, an invasion of locusts, a drought or a flood – because there is always too much or too little water in agriculture – they can not wait the next year, they will migrate into a slums, in unmanageable cities of 100,000 or 150,000 people within which necessarily appear the informal economy, racketeering and all forms of social organizations of survival.

Certainly, there are NGOs that know how to manage, in an emergency, the influx of 100,000 people by setting up access to water, waste disposal, etc. but we must be able to reduce this kind of phenomenon which is at the root of the true causes of migration. If I mention this situation so brutally, it is because there is an issue for me, including international security. We can not say that these figures are abstractions, that the world has always been like that. No, it is important to warn about these issues whose consequences in terms of population movements are at the gates of Europe, we must help raise awareness on these topics.

To understand all this is also to go back to the failure of the 1980s and 1990s. Let’s go back, in 1946, there are ration tickets in Paris. There is a little more than 40 million inhabitants in France, the food budget in the household budget represents more than 40% and half of the agricultural area of ​​the 6 signatory countries of the Treaty of Rome is in France. The goal is to produce more for less money with fewer assets on no more land, these are the beginnings of the CAP. The successes are dazzling, in the 1960s, the EEC becomes self-sufficient on animal products; in 1980, Rouen became the first port exporting wheat to the world.

The share of food in the household budget has dropped, we are much more numerous and the rapid productivity gains of the agricultural sector have benefited consumers, our agribusiness, supermarket distribution, upstream agriculture ( machinery, inputs) … and lastly to farmers whose incomes have stabilized in relative shares in GDP. This is the success of the CAP.


But that’s where things go wrong! This success leads us to mass export of wheat, and there the United States – which make a lot of fallow to avoid the complete collapse of the courses – tell us: the wheat is the food weapon, you sell it to the four corners of the world with public money, we must discuss.

Until then, agriculture was not on the agenda of the GATT, so we agreed to put it there and we open the discussions that are the basis of what will become the WTO. We are here in 1986 in Punta del Este, and it is at this moment when we observe the true renunciation of the Compromise du Luxembourg of 1966, it is at this moment when France renounces its historical position on agricultural subjects. In the aftermath, and not without problems, the reform of the CAP of 1992 will be recorded and the negotiations of the Uruguay Round will be concluded in Marrakech in 1994 on the idea that the support to agriculture are all destined to disappear. From summits to summits, the world sport will consist of tipping what is in the green box in the blue box, the blue box in the orange box, and so on so that in the end there is nothing left.

Then there was the failure of Seattle, and in 2001 the opening of the Doha Round which was to last three years, then again the failure of Cancùn. Each time, it is the differences of approach of the agricultural questions which explain the blockages. The food crisis of 2007/08 will also pass by there and will highlight the incompatibility between, on the one hand, the vision of developing countries like China and India on the imperative of food security, and on the other, a vision that would leave agriculture to markets alone.

The food crisis of 2007/08 will also pass by there and will highlight the incompatibility between, on the one hand, the vision of developing countries like China and India on the imperative of food security, and on the other, a vision that would leave agriculture to markets alone.

As explained in the Strategic Reference Note, the diagnosis of the 1980s on which the Marrakech Agreement is based was not good. In addition, the liberalization of capital flows has generated a massive flow of foreign direct investment and the end of the gold-pegged fixed parity system, endorsed by the 1976 Jamaica agreements, is at the root capital mobility which may be considered excessive in view of the financial crises it provokes at regular intervals. In Europe, Margareth Thatcher’s United Kingdom opens the way to the liberalization of the capital market, and then all the leftists in Europe go into it and pretend to discover that Keynesianism no longer works.

The doctrines of the 1980s are all based on the belief that the sum of individual interests and competition between actors – the market – is always better than cooperation including between states

It is important to recall these elements because they structure the era in which emerged the doctrines still at work in agriculture in Europe and the WTO. Whether capital, foreign exchange or agricultural products, the doctrines of the 1980s are all based on the belief that the sum of individual interests and competition between actors – the market – is always better than cooperation including between states. In the end, the 1976 Jamaica Agreements, like the 1994 Marrakesh Agricultural Agreement, are the same thing, it is the abandonment of all attempts to solve global problems through active cooperation.

Faced with the challenges of the 21st century, what we are proposing today is, on the contrary, to think of reforming the CAP from the perspective of a new multilateralism. This revival of multilateralism is at the heart of the project of the President of the Republic. It was central to his campaign, we worked a lot on this issue. The idea of ​​this revival of multilateralism is a question of global responsibility because all the problems we face, be it climate change, energy, the environment, water, food, migration, etc. no country can solve them alone. And it is certainly not with a succession of bilateral agreements that will succeed, it is a question of responsibility. It takes a common approach, it is not about giving lessons to the whole world, it is about convincing, to convince to establish a common diagnosis, and this is what we present to you today on agricultural and food security issues.”

 

 

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