“Agriculture can feed the world”

Wheat, corn, oil, meat… Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, food prices have skyrocketed. They have increased by almost 17 %, with significant consequences: according to the World Bank, For every percentage point increase in food prices, 10 million people are pushed into extreme poverty around the world ». Faced with this historic crisis, France has only one obsession: produce more ». A week after the start of the conflict, FNSEA – majority agricultural union – drew: We must produce more in our territory, produce sustainably, but produce. » A chorus was soon launched by the government, the Minister of Agriculture – about Europe’s Nurturing Mission » – for the re-elected president, Emmanuel Macron. A leitmotif is also used by our European neighbors.

In one go, the transition from speech to action is swift. At the end of March, the European Commission presented a series of measures support agricultural production » : farming fallow – capable of spraying pesticides – assisting farmers in fertilizing and postponing European targets to reduce pesticides and increase organic acreage.

So many Short-term solutions will bring final jeopardize global food security, while also leading to the collapse of biodiversity and climate change. »accused, on May 31, 6 DAINTY international, including CCFD-Terre solidaire, Greenpeace or Action Against Hunger.

Speculation and Measurement” counterproductive »

Food prices did not increase too much due to production problemsindicates Valentin Brochard, among CCFD. The main cause is speculation and the backlash of the States. » Of course, Ukraine, European bread tray »will harvest less than usual: according to US authorities, the country’s corn and wheat production will fall 53 times, respectively. % and over a third by 2022. Admittedly, bumper crops are declining in the United States or Brazil, due to climate change.

However, the reductions in production are very real, but they are not related to higher prices, because we have enough global reserves.Mr. Brochard affirmed. The crisis is mainly related to the runaway food markets. » In other words, in anticipation of rising prices, many stockbrokers have massively invested in food… thereby causing prices to spike. On the Paris wheat market, 72 % of buyers are speculatorshe observes. They artificially raise grain prices. »

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Another cause is determined by DAINTY : Many countries have taken measures, which are reasonable from a national point of view, but are completely counterproductive on an international scale. », notes Valentin Brochard. China massively hoarded corn and wheat, and India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, announced the suspension of grain exports. By May 2022, at least eighteen countries had implemented measures to limit or ban their food exports. In fifty years we have built a globalized food system that has made us all very dependent.Mr. Brochard said. Unilateral and uncoordinated responses by the state were one of the main factors driving the price spike. » In thirteen years, the world has experienced three major food crises, in 2008, 2011 and 2020, causing hunger and uprisings in the most vulnerable countries.

Sixty years of agro-industrial policy has failed to prevent food crises or end world hunger.Elyne Étienne, Friends of the Earth, adds. The agricultural industry is an inefficient model: it relies heavily on chemicals, oil, large investments, and causes a lot of damage to the environment and society. » Instead of using old production recipes, DAINTY hence the hope of an agricultural ramification.

These measures require considerable political courage »

Some European countries also seem hesitant to go into everything in depth. Across the Rhine, the German Ministry of Agriculture, led by the Greens, decided to oppose the expansion of fallow land, allowing it to be used only for fodder, which is less harmful to the system. plants and wildlife, as it inherently does not require fertilizers. In France, the joint program of the New Universal Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) wants to begin to get rid of pesticides and to make an ecological transition from agriculture.

Agronomy can feed the world »Elyne Étienne asserts, citing a number of scientific studies, such as the script Tyfa or Afterres. At the European level it is possible, by reducing waste and above all by reducing our meat consumption.Laure Ducos, of Greenpeace adds. Just a third of the grain produced for animal feed is enough “Reassigned” for human consumption in order to compensate for the drop in Ukraine’s exports. »

In the immediate term, about 20 farmer and environmental associations announced, in March last year, a series of alternative proposals. dealing with the consequences of war » : suspending debts of southern countries, banning the conversion of agricultural commodities into biofuels, taxing all speculative actions. These measures require considerable political courage, but they are necessary to avoid the worst »Valentin Brochard concludes.


Valuables

Abandoned is an agricultural activity that involves keeping an area of ​​agriculture unused for a certain period of time to allow it to replenish its water reserves; its productive capacity ». Biodiversity conservation, water quality improvement, erosion control, soil restoration, carbon sequestration… Autumn is a privileged space for ground-nesting birds, especially falcons, gray partridges or even leopards, three species that are in poor conservation status. »The League for Protection of Birds recalls (LPO) on May 25. Hares, stonechats or whitethroats also appreciate these environments.

To promote this ecological practice, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) request until now to dedicate 4 % of land in non-production areas. This forced fallow was therefore suspended last March at the European level. The French government made this decision in a decree published on May 23.

A gift for agribusiness », denouncing Caroline Faraldo, of the Foundation for Nature and People. In France, fallow land occupies nearly 300,000 hectares, or just over 1 % of productive agricultural land, and is often done on barren or hard-to-reach lands. The suspension of compulsory establishment will not significantly increase the agricultural production potential of the European Union »M. emphasis.I Faraldo.

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