A month after the Agricultural Show, several candidates had a new opportunity to present their program concerning agriculture, Wednesday, March 30, during the congress of the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA). Eleven days before the first round of the presidential election, five candidates were present: Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains), Marine Le Pen (National Rally), Eric Zemmour (Reconquest!), the communist Fabien Roussel and Jean Lassalle.
Emmanuel Macron, taken by the Defense Council and the Council of Ministers organized on Wednesday morning, transmitted a video broadcast to the delegates. Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France insoumise), Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party) or Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) have ignored it. Part of the public did not fail to boo the three left-wing candidates when their refusal to participate in the congress was announced in the Micropolis room in Besançon.
From short circuits to the withdrawal of free trade agreements, via the total abolition of pesticides, the twelve candidates for the Elysée Palace are multiplying their ideas to lend a hand to an agriculture hit by soaring production and material costs. agricultural raw materials caused by the war in Ukraine.
One in five farm households lives below the poverty line
Especially since the profession is undergoing a slow decline. Metropolitan France has 389,000 farms, according to the provisional results of the 2020 agricultural census. This is 100,000 fewer than in 2010 and four times fewer than in 1970. Nearly one in five farm households lives below the threshold of poverty (18%, against 15% of the French population), according to INSEE.
“We are still feeling the jolts of the health crisis, and one crisis is now adding to the other”said the president of the FNSEA, Christiane Lambert, at the start of the series of hearings. “We thought that food security was no longer a subject (…), but we need a strong paradigm shift and a strong comeback of food sovereignty as a major element of policy”, she pleaded. Most candidates defend this objective, which covers different meanings depending on their political color.
“Leading the transitions is necessary, but it must not make us lose sight of our nurturing mission”said Emmanuel Macron. “We have long opposed agriculture and ecology, but I believe in this reconciliation of agendas”he added, saying he wanted “amplify what we have put in place”.
For her part, the candidate of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen, launched: “My project: it is the sovereignty of our country. » The candidate was on the offensive against the “dumb shit from the ecologists” or the European Commission and the World Trade Organization (WTO) “which hinder any effective response to the current crisis”. She also condemned the “intolerable aggression and degradation” against farmers, but was booed when she said she wanted to create a status for the animal.
Playing on the absence of his rivals on the left, which he did not fail to underline, the communist Fabien Roussel was comfortable and joking, in front of an audience historically unfavorable to communist candidates. “He is good! »shouted a farmer, clapping, when the communist talked about nationalizing a bank to help young farmers get loans to get started. “Eating good meat, raised in France, is essential and important. We must defend French production, the quality of French products, it is not to be franchouillard “said Mr. Roussel. “Those who don’t want to eat meat, I respect them so much, but let them not impose their model of society. »
Valérie Pécresse: “Today zero-phyto is not realistic”
Valérie Pécresse, for her part, intends to put an end to the European project “ Farm to Fork » (“farm to fork”), which she says “organizes the decline of European production”. “I think it’s pure madness at a time of global warming, at a time when we risk having famines, at a time of war in Ukraine”, she pointed out. As for the environmental impact of crops, she felt that “zero-phyto today is not realistic, because we need alternatives to inputs. With me, there will be no ban without a solution”.
In front of the delegates, Eric Zemmour said he wished, “out of ecological and economic interest, that we stop signing free trade agreements with the whole world”. On the grounds, according to him, that “other countries do not have our standards and often produce in deplorable conditions while exporting massively to France, creating the conditions for unfair competition that is impossible for you to live with”. Mr. Zemmour also repeated his ambition, present in his program, to exempt from gift and inheritance tax any family transmission of a farm. Regarding the security of the countryside, finally, the candidate said he wanted to protect farmers from “gangs” and “mafias” who “are among you with their networks of burglars, thieves of metals, agricultural equipment and fuel”.
The last candidate to run for congress, Jean Lassalle castigated the alleged “agribashing”. “No, farmers are not enemies, they are not the ones who pollute, they are not the ones who warm the planet, and at least they don’t lie like us politicians”said the candidate of Résistons!, causing bursts of laughter in the room. “I will put France on leave from the birds directive, from the habitat directive”, he said, about two European Union decisions aimed at protecting biodiversity. “There will have to be a referendum for France to realize again that there are not many priorities for it more burning than that of relaunching its agriculture”, hammered the candidate.