Heads of State and Government are meeting this Friday to address the thorny issue of the European Union’s financial perspectives, culminating in a drop in the CAP budget to finance the new political priorities, starting with the migration challenge.
While the first concerned by these movements of population are from rural areas, one regrets that the public policies in the fields of agriculture and migration are once again put back to back.
Since the Valletta Summit in 2015, which identified the challenge of economic development in agriculture as a lever for job creation, the inability of Europe to develop a global approach linking migration, agriculture and trade is obvious. Proof among others, no reference is made to Africa and agriculture as a preferential sector for building development strategies in the paper outlining the Union’s new doctrine “a balanced and innovative trade policy to master globalization “.
Paradoxically, 60% of hungry people in the world today are farmers. Assailed by misery, in a context of exacerbated global competition that requires investments and opportunities they cannot claim, they form the battalions of excluded who feed the currents of emigration that Europe is struggling to channel.
In the face of the humanitarian emergency facing us, the longer-term challenge is to enable these men and women to live on their land.
To do this, it is essential to rethink the global food system. We must put in place a system capable of feeding all of humanity while preserving the ecosystems of our planet. Food sovereignty is a higher requirement than any commercial consideration and the issue of food can not be solved by the concentration of production in some regions of the world to the detriment of others. We must promote the relocation of agriculture.
Sub-Saharan Africa today faces a double challenge: that of youth employment, which is entering the labor market in droves as a result of population growth, and its heavy reliance on imported food products. It is essential to support the 2063 Agenda of the African Union, which has set itself the goal of reducing the unemployment rate by 25% in five years and halving food imports. .
The European Union must revise its trade policy vis-à-vis Africa and review the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) which constitute a brake on African political and economic integration and a danger for the agricultural development of these countries .
It is far from the spirit of the Lomé Convention, where Europe was putting access to its domestic market in the balance to help ACP agricultural development (Africa, Pacific Caribbean). As for the Common Agricultural Policy, the neo-liberal logic has passed by, and in the name of the benefits of competition, the tools for regulating agricultural markets have been removed, with the direct consequence of grabbing by the agri-food industry. added value created by farmers. It is clear that today’s CAP, like the EPAs, empties the countryside, be it European or African.
It is therefore imperative to get out of the logic that modernization requires the exodus of peasants. We need to focus on agriculture-based development strategies to ensure a better balance between rural and urban areas. This leads to the creation of a world body of governance and regulation, founded not on ever greater liberalization of trade but on equitable cooperation, in order to offer our planet the unprecedented prospect of a phase of sustainable economic development. and solidarity.
Eric Andrieu, MEP, Spokesperson of the European Social Democrats for Agriculture
Jacques Carles, Chairman of Agriculture Strategies, Vice President of Samu Social International