Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday gave his support to farmers who are trying to obtain a decent income within the framework difficult annual commercial negotiations with supermarkets and food manufacturers.
During this visit, Emmanuel Macron made no allusion to the controversy surrounding the decision of the ecologist town hall of Lyon to provide unique menus without meat in the canteens, described as “shame” by the Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie on Tuesday on RTL but defended the day before by the Minister of Ecology Barbara Pompili. But the Head of State stressed that the agricultural transition could not be done “on the basis of invectives, prohibitions” and “demagoguery”.
Regarding negotiations, Emmanuel Macron hoped that producers, processors and distributors “reconcile” and no longer play “against each other”. “It is in everyone’s interest that the negotiations are going well,” said the Head of State while visiting a farm in Etaules (Côte d’Or).
The government had to “raise the tone”
The annual commercial negotiations, which determine the prices of products sold in supermarkets (excluding private labels) and the remuneration of all links in the food chain, must be completed by March 1. But the government had to “raise the tone”, according to Emmanuel Macron, warning that it would continue to intensify checks by the fraud repression services. “We must fight for the fair return of value to producers,” insisted Emmanuel Macron, once again welcoming their commitment since the start of the covid-19 crisis. “I will never forget” that “they fed the country when it was closed” with containment, added the president, accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie.
This visit to Etaules was organized in the absence of the agricultural show, which is usually held at the end of February but has been canceled by the pandemic. The Head of State used to spend an entire day (12 hours last year) at the largest exhibition in France to meet players from the various sectors of agriculture and food.
We work more than 60 hours a week, with little family life, but if, in the end, we have no salary, it is not possible
“This year, the show is at home”, smiled Alexandre Estivalet, one of the four managers of the Etaules farm, a village about fifteen km north of Dijon. “The situation for farmers is difficult. It’s very complicated to make ends meet, ”he testified. “We work more than 60 hours a week, with little family life, but if, in the end, we have no salary, it is not possible”. He explained to Emmanuel Macron that the farmers were “ready to make a lot of efforts for the ecological transition” if the state “supported them and did not add even more restrictive rules”.
“The drama of French agriculture is that there will be no peasants if there is no income”, added Christian Decerle, president of the regional chamber of agriculture, during ” a round table chaired by Serge Papin, the former boss of Système U commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture.
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