Organic farming: why the State is withdrawing from aid for maintenance

The Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert announced that the state will, from 2018, entrust the funding of “maintenance aid” to the regions. Objective: to favor conversions of novice farmers in organic farming.

Change of course for “organic” agriculture in France. On the Tech and Bio show held this week in Bourg-les-Valence in the Drôme, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Stéphane Travert, this Wednesday, September 20, clarified the new government policy concerning subsidies intended for professionals in “organic” agriculture. By announcing that the State was now going to rely on the regions to finance support for maintenance, the deputy for the Channel had provoked the anger and incomprehension of those involved in the sector.

This aid, which takes over from the conversion aid, is intended to perpetuate holdings weakened by the change in model. Those for 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 specifying a few points for improvement.
Adapting to a growing market

For Stéphane Travert, the objective of this change of course would be that “other mechanisms than the systematic allocation of” maintenance aid “allow producers already certified in organic farming to obtain fair remuneration”. Because if the mechanisms must change, it is above all because the “organic” market is experiencing “historic growth”, in his words.

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 an increase of 15% -, the State counts on the ” “organic” boom in France and Europe to keep farmers on the defensive for a long time.

Stéphane Travert, on the other hand, declared himself ready to support the development of an “organic sector”, including the processing and distribution of food, so that products from French organic farming can be disposed of correctly and without waste on the market. market. To do this, it relies on the States General of Food (EGalim) which started 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

Within the framework of these Estates General, he also wishes to see the setting up of a “private fund” used to finance “projects for the development and structuring of organic sectors”. An initiative that would make it possible to increase the influence of “organic” agriculture to “8.5% of usable agricultural land” in France by 2020, whereas this amounted to 6.5% in 2016 .

The State therefore undertakes to honor the funding of maintenance aid “allocated for the 2015 to 2017 CAP campaigns”. The current contracts should therefore be maintained, as well as the tax credit from which “organic” producers benefit today. Tax relief ranging from 2,500 to 4,000 euros which was originally scheduled to end in 2017.

Stéphane Travert, however, wanted to emphasize that “the regions will be able to continue to finance maintenance aid” while warning that they “will have to do it with responsibility”, and above all “without mobilizing the funds of the ministry”. A diversion which will not fail to react the agricultural world as a whole which, despite the good figures of “organic”, is currently going through a severe crisis.

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