Parliament adopted definitively on Thursday evening, by a final vote of the Senate, “new rules of the game” to protect the remuneration of farmers in commercial relations with manufacturers and distributors. The government wants implementation “as soon as possible”. The bill of the deputy LREM Grégory Besson-Moreau, known as “Egalim 2”, which was the subject of an agreement between deputies and senators in joint committee, had been adopted unanimously last week by the National Assembly.
What does the bill provide for?
It plans to generalize written contracts between the farmer and the company that will transform his products, over a minimum of three years, taking production costs into account. And to make “non-negotiable”, between the manufacturer and the distributor, the part of the price corresponding to the cost of agricultural raw materials.
“Advances” introduced by the Senate: the principle of non-negotiability will apply to all food products, “regardless of the volume of the different ingredients”, welcomed the senators who also welcome “the new framework for food products sold under private label ”.
The CMP also validated the principle of an experiment to exclude certain fruit and vegetable sectors from raising the threshold for resale at a loss implemented since Egalim 1. The bill also provides for making the indication of the country compulsory. origin for agricultural and food products.
The objective of this new text is to complete the Food or “Egalim” law, passed in 2018, who did not keep their promises in terms of remuneration for farmers. “We are choosing trust,” said centrist rapporteur Anne-Catherine Loisier, while expressing her fears that these provisions “are not yet up to the expectations of farmers”. “It is the responsibility of the actors in the food chain to respect these rules”, warned Micheline Jacques (LR). On the left, the PS group voted for the text, “without illusions, with the feeling of unfinished work,” said Franck Montaugé, while the ecologist Joël Labbé voted “backwards”. The Communist-majority CRCE group refused him his votes.
“The advances are great”, according to the Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie, “because the text will make it possible to really act on the balance of power by making it possible to guarantee the advance of the price and by bringing transparency, way to move from mistrust to trust in commercial relations ”. “We must now move quickly to implement, before the next trade negotiations which are announced, this Egalim 2 law”, he added. “I will put the draft implementing decrees for consultation as soon as possible,” he said.
Trade negotiations until March 1
Annual commercial negotiations on national brand products (Danone, Fleury Michon, Herta, etc.) begin this month and will last until March 1, with the bulk of negotiations taking place between December and February. This overhaul of the “rules of the game” is welcomed by the FNSEA. The majority agricultural union had pushed for the law to go further to force manufacturers to take into account the costs borne by farmers. And that supermarket signs in turn take this into account when negotiating with manufacturers.
On the side of the Ania association, which defends the agro-food industries, there is no doubt that the law will apply from these negotiations, even if “most sales departments will spend a lot of time with their lawyers to decode the text”, stressed to AFP its president, Jean-Philippe André.
Improving incomes does not depend solely on the balance of power with industry and distribution. The Agricultural Cooperation, which brings together cooperative enterprises, underlined that the text “only concerns 40% of farmers’ income since it only acts on the share of agricultural raw materials sold by supermarkets”. The other markets are collective and commercial catering, export, direct sales, etc.