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

The Brexit and its impact on agriculture:
“Should I stay or should I go?”

October 12, 2015

The referendum on Britain leaving the European Union could be held in 2017, and polls and opinions on its potential impact for both Great Britain and the European Union are already intensifying.

For the time being, the polls are calling for a tight battle between the two sides––40 percent of the British are for leaving, against 38 percent for staying1. Without taking a stand for or against the Brexit, the main British agricultural union––the National Farmers Union or NFU––examines the relationship of Great Britain toward the European Union in a recent report, and raises a number of questions on the consequences of Great Britain’s leaving the European Union. “If we leave the European Union, will we have access to European markets?” “In that case, what will be the British agricultural policy, especially regarding direct subsidies?” “And for those wanting to remain member of the European Union, what are they doing to make sure that European leaders put agriculture at the forefront of global competitiveness?” Lastly, whether within or outside the EU, “how will we achieve better regulation?”

To address these issues, the NFU comes up with statistics that speak for themselves: 73 percent of British agro-food exports are shipped to other member states, and 48 percent of the entire British lamb production goes to Europe. As far as the CAP is concerned, the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) indicates that the policy provides 55 percent of total farming incomes. The NFU also stresses that this policy helps fight price volatility and provides a level of resilience against endogenous and exogenous shocks.

While all these issues are presently unresolved, some facts speak for themselves. Similarly to most member states, Great Britain is going through a serious crisis in livestock farming, and is thus all the more exposed to erratic market fluctuations. Dairy farmers in England and Wales––whose total number is now below 10,000 (i.e. a 50 percent decline in 12 years)––are currently getting a little over 20 pence per liter of milk, when its production cost reaches 30 pence. As a result, milk is cheaper than water, since two liters of milk sell for 89 pence in some supermarkets. This crisis situation, and more globally the level of farmers’ indebtedness, bankruptcies and lower agricultural incomes are all factors that restrict British agriculture and the country’s food security.

Yet today more than ever, we need Europe for its strategic power and its ability to safeguard the stability of farming incomes. Although the European Commission errs due to overconfidence in the virtues of the market, the CAP can and must be reformed again. While the policy has meticulously come undone during the past two decades by further moving away from the European agricultural realities and challenges, it is not too late to regain its founding principles during the mid-term review in 2017.

1 According to the YouGov poll

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Paris, 20 June 2019