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HomeFarming News‘It is no longer bearable’ – French farmers protest for fairer income
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘It is no longer bearable’ – French farmers protest for fairer income

Today (Friday, April 2nd, 2021), French farmers are continuing their series of protests for a fairer income.

FDSEA, France’s largest farmers’ union, and Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) have organised today’s demonstration over the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

In a joint statement, they said, Ile-de-France farmers “attached to the future of their profession” are protesting to give “a first warning to the government”.

“This mobilisation is also a message sent to our fellow citizens alerting them to the urgency of saving French agriculture.” a spokesperson explained.

“Without it, our food autonomy and the preservation of our national quality productions are no longer guaranteed.”

“As part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the decisions that are looming at the Ministry, will directly impact French agriculture.”

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“As for the research sector, for the health sector and the hospital, political arbitrations will reduce the means of production so that a good number of peasants will cease their activity.”

“Like industry, does this government want to sacrifice French agriculture? As for the other sectors, should our cereal growers stop producing in favour of foreign and less healthy productions?”

“How can president Macron recognise agriculture as essential and, at the same time, take trade-offs that will classify it in the very short-term in the endangered sectors? It is no longer bearable.”

The farm groups have warned that the European CAP reform will see a “good number of farmers cease their activity”. Farmers have called for a CAP “for farms, not firms”.


CAP agreement in eight weeks’ time

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein MEP Chris MacManus, estimates that a final CAP agreement could be reached in the next eight weeks.

MacManus, who is a member of the European Parliament’s negotiating team on the new CAP package, released a statement earlier today (Friday, April 2nd).

“The current timetable is to reach an agreement by the end of May. Although we are on track to meet this target, my concern is what kind of agreement we will walk away with.”

“I will only support the final text if it delivers on key areas for Irish farmers, primarily the guarantee of a fair standard of living.”

“The council’s current position of 85% convergence is insufficient to rebalance the scales between those on high and low entitlements.”

The MEP’s position is that we must complete the process of full convergence by the end of the programming period.

“The European Parliament negotiating team backs this position, but in these final weeks, they will have to face down increasing demands for comprise by the Council.”

‘Put this money back’

He acknowledged that some family farmers will lose money through full convergence.

However, he said the new CAP offers “us the opportunity to put this money back and more, through targeting them for increased support, when divvying up the new redistributive payment”.

“They can be assured that I would not advocate for any proposal, which would result in a net loss for small to medium farmers, as they represent our most socially and environmentally sustainable future.”

He said another group in need of extra targeting are young farmers. He “fully agrees” with Macra’s demands, a 4% ring-fencing minimum for young farmers.

MacManus concluded, “Finally, one thing we can be sure of is that this CAP reform will include additional environmental ambition.”

“This is not necessarily something to fear, as long as the schemes are well designed, meaning profitable, impactful and straightforward.”

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