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.
Banque mondiale Joseph Stiglitz

The urgent necessity for agricultural policies

Pierre Pagesse,

President of momagri
Editorial published in the magazine Paysans

All great civilizations were built on the foundations of a veritable agricultural policy. It is no coincidence that all the major countries which count today in the world have implemented agricultural policies. The United States, China, India, the European Union, Japan ... They all have policies! The conclusion is simple: when farmers have enough visibility and confidence in their future income, they invest in production, productivity improves, food prices will then drop with lasting effects as the performance of farmers improves. This virtuous circle has been repeated throughout history. The United States made it one of the instruments of their geopolitical approach to the world. China, faced with obvious land boundaries has considerably improved its productivity by ensuring a decent income for its farmers and investing in research. India has managed its first green revolution through technological progress, coupled with agricultural price management. If Europe has developed agriculture and agri-food performance, it is thanks to the CAP.

Riding the wave of extreme liberalism, some thought that agricultural policies were part of a bygone era, that it was necessary to dismantle regulatory mechanisms to liberate "the force of the market." Europe embarked blindly along this path. The result? After euphoria, stagnation! The dynamics of the food and agricultural sector collapsed. The United States did not commit such a folly; on the contrary, they consolidated their "Farm Bill". Neither did China, which organises massive resource transfers to its agricultural sector. Nor India, which is preparing its second Green Revolution via biotechnology. Nor Brazil, nor Russia, for whom agriculture is one of their top priorities. This should give us pause for thought.

So far, France has been too focused on the theories of the Commission, but has it learned its lesson from an agricultural crisis whose damage is more apparent every day? Not so sure! Certainly France is currently campaigning for new agricultural regulation in context with the CAP, but to me, the real means are yet to be invented!

Yet Europe was perfectly able to meet the safety and food security requirements of its citizens as well as the economic and social performance of its food industry. The CAP’s budget was a productive investment for a long time. We now realise that the cost of the CAP (0.38% of GDP!) is dwarfed both by the economic and social costs engendered by the instability caused by dismantling its resources.

Our leaders still have great difficulty in persuading Europe’s more liberal fringe. It is now a matter of urgency. After 2013, the Cap must meet the requirements for Europe’s food security, along with the prospect of a decent income for its farmers. The CAP must be sound and back in line with its founding principles.

If this vision is not possible for the 27, then it must be implemented within the countries of the Eurozone, which have already shown the way. For me, the Eurozone, which was built on the logic of monetary solidarity, cannot resist without strengthening its union and seizing the opportunity of integrating an even more important policy; Agricultural Policy.

I believe, more than ever, it is time to encourage, in Europe and in each major agro-economic zone in the world, a virtuous circle of remunerative prices, based on a balanced price within the real economy of each zone, consolidated by security reserves and automatic safeguards applicable in the event of instability.

Yes, agricultural policies are indispensable in order to meet the challenges for growth, development and to reduce the unbearable malnutrition denounced last November in Rome by Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO.
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Paris, 11 December 2018