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.
Pierre Pagesse
  Editorial  
 

There is an urgent need to come up with an alternative
to SPSs



Pierre Pagesse, Chairman, momagri,


Op-ed published in Réussir Grandes Cultures, January 2014

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The post-2013 CAP does not rise to the global food challenges. Worse even, the ability to feed the European population is not further secured since the EU is currently a net importer of basic agricultural products. Everything needs to be re-examined for the post-2020 period.

A COMPARISON WITH OUR TRADE PARTNERS’ AGRICULTURAL POLICIES SHOWS THE DISCONNECTION OF THE CAP. The momagri’s SGPAA2 proves it: The agricultural policies conducted by the world’s major powers are based on support measures to farmers’ competitiveness and protection against agricultural market instability. Conversely, the EU is now the only power providing support uncoupled to production––the SPSs3––the cornerstone of its agricultural policy. Worse even, these SPSs are complemented by greening and eco-conditionality criteria, and are disconnected to any agricultural strategy.

AS A CONSEQUENCE, OUR FARMERS WILL BE DEFENSELESS AGAINST AGRICULTURAL MARKET INSTABILITY. If one adds the risks incurred by passed free trade agreements (Canada) or under negotiation (United States), the EU would waive all custom duties while focusing on non-tariff trade barriers based on quality indicators meant to protect the Union from imports of hormone-treated meat for instance. Who can believe that such products will not be widely distributed in the short- or long-term?
The EU food dependency is programmed at a time when agriculture is again a strategic challenge for the world’s major nations. In fact, the world population will count seven billion people by 2013, to reaching close to 10 billion by 2050.

IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY THIS CAP, THE EUROPEAN AUTHORITIES HAVE GAMBLED ON INCREASED DEMAND, on the grounds of keeping agricultural prices high.
It is a bold challenge already taken––and lost––by the EU in 2008 with the CAP health check. The ink was barely dry on the agreement when a sharp price reversal occurred, thus proving that agricultural prices are volatile by nature.
The corn market downturn is a new manifestation. It includes land increases and global productivity, an assumption that was overlooked by the EU. Consequently, it is a potentially fatal bet for European farmers who, if the trend continues, will earn revenues––including SPSs––that will not cover their production prices. And the measures proposed by France will not succeed in restoring any balance.
The world’s major producing nations have, each in their own way, implemented agricultural policies that ensure incomes to their farmers. In the United States, the up-coming Farm Bill will probably remain through a perfect blend of secured insurance systems and counter-cyclical payments whose amount vary depending on economic conditions…

LET’S USE THE COMING MONTHS TO REINVENT A EUROPEAN AGRICULTURAL POLICY that allows farmers to also benefit from minimal guarantees to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It is all the more required since the Bali WTO compromise does not bring any solution to the key issue of agricultural market instability, thus of food security. momagri is making proposals to that end. It is a question of making EU spending more efficient by channeling the SPSs toward counter-cyclical measures for field crops. As a leading agricultural nation, France must be a force for bringing forward solutions. The next occasion is for 2016, when the mid-term review of the European financial outlook is due. There is an urgency to initiate the debate.


1 Réussir Grandes Cultures, January 2014, n° 276
2 Global Support to Agricultural and Food Policy.
3 The SPSs have been replaced by the Basic Payment Scheme (BPSs), the environmental payment and the redistributive payment.
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Paris, 11 December 2018