Organic farming: why the state disengages from support

Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert announced that the state would, from 2018, entrust the funding of “maintenance aid” to the regions. Objective: to favor the conversions of beginning farmers in the bio.

Change of course for “organic” agriculture in France. On the occasion of the Tech and Bio show held this week in Bourg-les-Valence in the Drôme, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Stéphane Travert on Wednesday, September 20, specified the new government policy concerning subsidies for professionals in organic farming. By announcing that the state would now rely on the regions to finance maintenance aid, the Manche deputy has caused anger and misunderstanding of stakeholders in the sector.

These aids that take over from the conversion aids are intended to perpetuate the farms weakened by the change of model. Those for the conversion accompany the three-year transition period during which the operator sees his yields fall by being paid at an intermediate price. The minister would justify this decision by pointing out some areas for improvement.

Adapt to a growing market
For Stéphane Travert, the aim of this change of course would be that “other mechanisms than the systematic allocation” of maintenance aids “allow producers already certified in organic farming to obtain fair remuneration”. Because if the mechanisms must change, it is above all because the market of the “bio” knows a “historic growth”, according to its terms.

With a market estimated at more than 7 billion euros for the year 2016, and a growth of 20% compared to the year 2015 – which had already recorded a rise of 15% -, the State counts on the ” boom “of” organic “in France and Europe to support farmers for a long time on the defensive.

Stéphane Travert, on the other hand, declared himself ready to support the development of an “organic sector”, including food processing and distribution, so that products from French organic farming could be sold properly and without waste on the market. market. To do this, it relies on the General States of Food (EGalim) which began in June 2017 and should end in November, with the aim of developing “concrete proposals” in this direction.

Increase the percentage of “organic” agricultural land
In the context of these States-General, he also wants to set up a “private fund” to finance “projects for the development and structuring of organic sectors”. An initiative that would increase the influence of “organic” agriculture to “8.5% of usable agricultural land” in France by 2020, while it amounted to 6.5% in 2016 .

Also, the State undertakes to honor the funding of maintenance aid “awarded for the CAP 2015 to 2017” campaigns. Ongoing contracts should therefore be maintained, as well as the tax credit currently enjoyed by organic producers. A tax relief ranging from 2,500 to 4,000 euros which was originally scheduled to end in 2017.

Stéphane Travert, however, stressed that “the regions will be able to continue to finance maintenance aid” while warning that “they will have to do so in responsibility”, and especially “without mobilizing the credits of the ministry”. A diversion that will not fail to react the agricultural world as a whole which, despite the good figures of the “bio”, is currently going through a severe crisis.

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