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“Decoupling of  subsidies does not lead anywhere, we have to get out of it and give back to political choices an ability to provoke change” Olivier Allain

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 Olivier Allain, Farmer and Vice-President of the Regional Council of Brittany (LREM)

« I would like to come back to the question of the CAP budget and the proposal for reform in 4 pillars proposed by Agriculture Strategies.

By cumulating the CAP budget and national expenditure, French agriculture costs the taxpayer between 12 and 14 billion euros a year. This does not seem excessive, far from it!

I think it is important to compare the agricultural budget with that of other major policies. What is important for an individual? It is of course to eat, it is also to lodge or to heal. If we look at housing expenses, it is nearly 46 billion euros and the only health branch of the basic schemes of social security, it is more than 190 billion euros in France. By cumulating the CAP budget and national expenditure, French agriculture costs the taxpayer between 12 and 14 billion euros a year. This does not seem excessive, far from it!

You can also compare with the 32 billion euros in the budget of vocational training that President Macron wants to tackle because you have on one side employers who do not find employees and the other employees who do not find no employer. So, overall, the budgetary cost of support for agriculture, and I think it must be emphasized, is not excessive for the taxpayer and we must be able to legitimately claim to continue to have at least this amount, makes sense!

I mentioned taxpayers, we can talk about consumers as well and still make the connection with housing. When we look at the expenses of the French for housing, it keeps growing, we are at 24%. On the other hand, the household food budget was about 20% 30 years ago, and since then it has fallen to 10.5%.

So in terms of the budget and the cost of food, we can say that we are in a satisfactory situation. The problem is that farmers are not getting their money’s worth because income has never been so low. It is therefore urgent to change the logic.

Au nom de l’efficacité du soutien public, il faut une politique qui puisse gérer les équilibres de marché et sortir des crises

The Agriculture Strategies project is really very coherent. At the heart of these proposals, he places the imperative of fiscal efficiency and gives new meaning to public aid. The law following the Estates General of Food was adopted at first reading in the Assembly a few days ago. It brings important advances to restore value within the sectors. But what are the best prices for producers? This is when there is a tension between supply and demand. We know, when we are in equilibrium, and even more when a slight surplus appears, we see how prices can fall apart. In this case, all public policies of aid to farmers are undermined when prices plummet because they are also the subsidies that escape farmers and reach their customers or customers of their customers. This is why, in the name of the effectiveness of public support, we need a policy that can manage market equilibria and exit crises.

This is the logic of the second pillar proposed by Agriculture Strategies: having the tools to best manage the supply, whether by the producer organizations themselves or by the public authorities, on a European scale, so as to go up the prices. And that makes sense because it costs the cheapest budget. So, the results of the General States of Food will also depend on how we will support producers to better organize and what tools can be used in the CAP to balance the markets.


I insist, we must recognize the consistency of the Agriculture Strategies project, and necessarily decoupled aid does not have their place. The very idea of ​​politics is to make choices, but decoupling when one thinks about them is the inability of politics to be able to steer. Take the example of vegetable proteins, it is nevertheless paradoxical that in the face of such a strategic issue, where Europe is deficient, we can not afford to do otherwise. I come from a region, Brittany, where there is a lot of animal production: we are very dependent on imports of soybeans, which are mainly GMOs. We need a protein policy worthy of the name. In a world with unstable geopolitical relations and when we see that there is consumer demand for non-GMOs, we need to develop these productions in Europe and this will require more coupled support. Rather than continue in this “Shadock globalization” that wants to export wheat at low prices while importing protein in a massive way and at high prices, it is urgent to give more meaning to the CAP through more aid. likely to change the rotations.

Generally speaking, and this is very clear in the Strategic Reference Note, we have to stop being naive: the decoupling of subsidies does not lead anywhere, we have to get out of it and give back to political choices an ability to provoke change

We have to stop being naive: the decoupling of  subsidies does not lead anywhere, we have to get out of it and give back to political choices an ability to provoke change

J’en arrive au troisième pilier consacré à l’environnement, et là aussi on ne peut pas dire que jusque-là on ait été très efficace. Je crois beaucoup aux dispositifs contractuels, je pense par exemple aux Mesures Agro-Environnementales et Climatiques (MAEC). Ces mesures permettent de prendre en compte l’ensemble du système de production et d’accompagner de vrais changements. Je prends l’exemple de la Bretagne qui comme les autres Régions est devenue gestionnaire du second pilier de la PAC. On a aujourd’hui un tiers de nos éleveurs laitiers et bovins-viande qui ont souscrit une « MAEC système » et l’on démontre que plus d’agro-écologie, c’est plus de compétitivité et des systèmes plus pertinents et plus résilients.

The development of the AECMs I believe must be continued and this is the central idea of ​​the 3rd pillar of this proposal. With a commitment over 5 years, it helps to secure farmers, give them a financial mattress that allows them this environmental transition and energy. That is how we will have more resilient farming systems that fulfill the goals that everyone has in mind, such as reducing greenhouse gases.

Finally, the fourth pillar is the installation. It must be said, I am very attached to family farming: I consider that it has all the advantages of competitiveness first, but also of occupation of the territory for living campaigns. Admittedly, we could produce as much with 10 times less farms but the impact on the territories would be catastrophic and competitiveness would not be better, far from it. Given the age pyramid, it would be a mistake not to put the package on the installation. We need an extremely strong and exclusive pillar on the installation so that Europe gives a real signal of priority on the renewal of the generations.

It is high time to get out of the mortifying logic of decoupling, budget cuts, lack of strategic vision

Budget efficiency, aid coupling, crisis regulation, environment and installation: I think it is time today to make proposals. I do not know whether it is illusory or not that by the end of March 2019 the reform proposed by the Commission will be recorded, but it is high time that France, Europe’s leading agricultural producer, carries out a project that is daring. It is high time to get out of the mortifying logic of decoupling, budget cuts, lack of strategic vision. There is a crisis of agricultural incomes in Europe, in France in particular, but also in all European countries. I believe that we must give hope to our farmers, the Agriculture Strategies project, for me, is a part and makes sense.

That’s what I wanted to say, thank you to the whole team of Agriculture Strategies, Jacques, Frédéric, Dominique, to work on all these subjects. It is now I think we must be force of proposals. France has a lot of agriculture and has been a leader for a long time, maybe a little less so now, but with this kind of project we can get back to it. The President of the Republic is very attached to agriculture and to Europe, to say the least, so we bet that this project can be widely shared and succeed in bringing a new project worthy of the name.

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