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

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (Winston Churchill)

January 5, 2015

Here is a warning that could also be addressed to agriculture and its amnesic and paradoxical relationship to statistics. The most recent example is that of a steep income decline for grain, fruit and cattle farmers for 2014 despite rising outputs. As far as grain farmers are concerned, incomes fell by 60 percent in 2014.

The point is not to underline the explanations for such a drop, but rather to grasp the reality of these figures, and more importantly what they reveal. The facts are there: Year after year, virtually all forecasts proved to be wrong. And yet each time, these very experts continue to explain why yesterday’s forecasts did not occur today, while making new predictions, as if the world of agriculture was a certain one, and following an “utopian scenario”––absence of speculators, perfect farmers’ anticipations and ideal climate conditions. More than any other activity, agriculture is tarnished by major errors of assessment widely attributable to traditional economic models––at the World Bank, FAPRI and OECD––the very models that in fact guided the liberalization policies of the past twenty years, without realizing the harm they caused.

One of the contradictions of these recent predictions outlined by the Permanent Assembly of the Chambers of Agriculture (APCA) involves the gap between the changes in income estimated by the French Statistical Institute (+6 percent) and by the Ministry of Agriculture (-5 percent), while revenue gaps are quite substantial according to types of farming in 2014, and are showing wide fluctuations from one year to the next. Why such a dissonance? For the APCA experts, “these results demonstrate that the existing national and European agricultural policies cannot curb the extreme volatility of agricultural incomes. And this at a time when the decoupling dogma, which aims to totally disconnect public intervention from market conditions, is once again showing its limitations.”

Unfortunately, without any pertinent statistical method, no agricultural policy will account for this unstable and uncertain context, and thus provide farmers with sound information. Yet today, we do not have any procedure or indicator that provides accurate, timely and easy-to-read information on the various markets and implemented policies, as opposed to other fields such as finance, the environment and ethics.

One thing is certain: Now for than ever, the agricultural community requires a “compass” to shows the course to be followed. This is the task undertaken by momagri through the creation of a rating agency specialized in agriculture and food, in order to limit the information asymmetry in international markets, anticipate the failures of agricultural markets and improve the policies implemented in the field of agriculture.

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Paris, 18 December 2018