“Environment: the State is lying to us.” Dozens of them gathered this Tuesday in Paris to denounce the “inconsistencies” of the government which advocates ecological planning, but has not increased aid intended to support the transition on farms in the 2024 budget.
“Refusing to provide resources to help farmers who are engaged in changes to the agricultural system is a choice that the State is making not to move towards the agroecological transition,” said Franck Lebreton, a breeder in Côtes- d'Armor and member of the Center for initiatives to promote agriculture and the rural environment (Civam) in Brittany. “Lies”, “contempt”, “speeches, no words”: at the Place des Invalides, there were around sixty farmers from Brittany, New Aquitaine or Occitanie at the call of the Confédération paysanne, the third union French agricultural sector, to express their anger and incomprehension, noted an AFP journalist. They demand funding for agro-environmental and climate measures (Maec), described as “a key tool for the implementation of the agroecological project for France” by the Ministry of Agriculture on its website. Funded 80% by the European Union through the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), this Maec aid compensates for the “additional costs and shortfalls” linked to the ecological transition of farms: promoting meadows, developing full-fledged livestock farming. air, plant hedges, use less or no fertilizers and pesticides...
Many farmers, particularly in Brittany, have taken these measures. “This aid is money for biodiversity, for the climate, it’s money that we won’t spend to go and collect green algae,” testified Julien Tallec, a farmer in Brittany. According to an estimate from Régions de France, the institution representing the regions with public authorities, “between 250 and 300 million euros are missing nationally”, not budgeted by the State. The Peasant Confederation deplores the maintenance of an “unchanged envelope of 250 million euros by the State” (80% of which financed by a CAP fund) while the Maec is “a real success”. “Many farmers got involved and checked the Maec box” by completing their CAP aid requests last April: “at least 100 million are missing for 2023,” estimates Laurence Marandola, spokesperson for the Confédération Paysanne.
The union warns of the weakening of farmers who have taken measures to adapt to the climate and whose applications will be refused for lack of a sufficient budget. "It's incomprehensible. Here, the only one that does not respect its commitments is the State,” laments Julien Tallec.