EMB Newsletter August 2017
Dear dairy farmers and interested parties,
For 60 years, the agricultural sector has been facing one crisis after the other, and today we can affirm that we are continually in crisis.
The industrialisation of agriculture was meant to provide solutions and most notably, revenue... Sixty years on, we have an industrial farming model that is a giant with feet of clay, characterised by chronic debt, and farmers who cannot survive without subsidies and who produce astronomic volumes of milk, meat, vegetables and food grains. Storage needs to be subsidised. Even more subsidies are required to offload these excesses on third countries (in Africa and beyond), which is a death sentence for African peasant farmers and leads to changes in local food habits. All this for the inadmissible, and not admitted, goal of tapping into new export markets. And then we wonder why millions of migrants are making their way to Europe!
A different agriculture is possible. Farmers do not only produce food. They maintain the land and fulfil a social function. In fact, our cities are built in concrete, glass and steel; they are increasingly dehumanised, leading to abnormal social developments: loneliness, depression, schizophrenia, etc. Thinking that farmers should be compensated for all the other contributions they make to society, in addition to producing food, is not really a stretch. Agriculture can be a source of employment, of energy production and can be an activity that creates a link between people, thus giving purpose to each person's life. Agriculture can be all this, and much more.
The upcoming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy must choose between these two paths: It can promote the industrialisation of agriculture which will lead us straight to a planetary "Chernobyl", or it can reorient toward small-scale farming which will, once again, place people at the centre of society and will lead us to El Dorado.
Boris Gondouin, APLI France