A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

“Everything is fine, just fine…”

January 27, 2014

The economic crisis has destroyed the morale of European populations. A recent survey conducted by the research firm Ipsos for Crédit Agricole Assurances indicates that a general doom and gloom and a complete aversion to risk have affected the citizens of the European Union. Likewise, European farmers have not been spared in their day-to-day work, since markets are increasingly liberalized and regulatory tools dismantled.

Determined to do battle with the scaremongers and other merchants of doom, on January 14 the European Commission issued surprisingly positive figures for the future of European agriculture, though revenues have sometimes been worrisome in the past few years, especially in France: “In 2023, the disposable income per farmer will be 46.8 percent higher than that for the 2003-2007 reference period.” At the rate of 1.8 percent annually, European farmers could thus see their incomes swell as a consequence of the lower number of farms. The Commission also indicates that the prices of key agricultural products in the EU should remain high in the coming decade, due mostly to Chinese demand.

Without erring on the side of pessimism, asserting the sustainability of long-term trends could turn out to be somewhat hazardous, when we know how markets are structurally unstable and volatile, and can shift dramatically. As a result, it is not reasonable or realistic to claim the real start of an operational and long-term increase of farmers’ incomes.

Agriculture is not only strategic but also specific: What can be applicable for one economic sector is absolutely not so for agriculture. It is a sector that is particularly sensitive to natural hazards and market risks, where agricultural supply does not adjust to demand. To these particulars, one must also add the power of market psychology: Agriculture has become a complex anticipation market where no farmer can adjust its production on the way, or even foresee the amount and quality of future crops.

To address these determinants, it must be noted that agricultural markets are chiefly tainted and imperfect markets. Admittedly, agricultural incomes can rise in a given period, but such claim will only be of a temporary nature.

This analysis all the more justifies a structural public policy to best bridge market gaps in terms of effectiveness and food security, while providing better price stability and ensuring the economic balance and sustainability of agriculture. Many agricultural powerhouses have adopted such farming strategy. European authorities have gambled on increased demand on the grounds of maintaining high agricultural prices… a dangerous bet at a time when the urgent situation demands a renewed European agricultural policy.

At any rate, the European Commission is dancing on the tune of “everything is fine, just fine”, which shows how disconnected from realities it is.

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Paris, 25 June 2019