Staging of a consumer going to the farm on an organic horticultural farm in Auxonne (Côte-d’Or). EMILE LOREAUX / THE PHOTOUMNALE 2019
The contours of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), to apply from 2023 to 2027, are now clear for seven European Union (EU) countries, including France.
The European Commission validated on Wednesday 31st August a first package of “strategic plans”, national versions of this European subsidy program – in addition to that of France, the plans of Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain are approved. The stakes are high as these countries are providing €120 billion in aid over this period, including €45.2 billion for French agriculture.
In a letter of observations sent to Paris at the end of March, the Commission criticized the lack of environmental measures in the first version of the French plan, sent in December 2021. This “only partially supports the ecological transition of the agriculture and forestry sectors,” she wrote. The 1,884-page plan, returned by new Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau on August 4 and published in full by the Context website on August 29, contains several adjustments.
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In particular, organic farming remuneration has been revised upwards to differentiate it from High Environmental Value (HVE) certification, a much less restrictive label. In its first version, the French strategic plan put this certification on an equal footing with the heavily criticized organic certification. From now on, the “ecoregime”, the new instrument intended to reward climate and biodiversity-friendly practices, will be 30 euros per hectare higher for operators in organic farming than in the HVE approach.
The obligation to crop rotation
“We get 110 euros per hectare. We expected at least 120 euros, but it is an acceptable level,” said Loïc Madeline of the National Federation of Organic Farming (FNAB), who welcomed this arbitration.
However, for MEP Eric Andrieu (Socialist MEP, S&D group), rapporteur in Parliament on the CAP reform, this will not be enough to reach the target of doubling the organic share (to 18% of agricultural land) by 2027.” Since France has also abolished subsidies for maintaining organic farming, the account is not included,” he criticizes.
Another point that caused a dispute with the EU Commission: the obligation to crop rotation, from which Paris initially wanted to deviate. “There was a real balance of power: France argued for diversification but not for rotation, but the Commission did not back down,” observes Mathieu Courgeau, president of the association’s platform Pour une autre PAC . “For 2023 and 2024 crop rotation will be practiced on 35% of the total area. This means that 65% of the area can remain in monoculture for two years, explains Laurence Marandola of the Farmers’ Union. From 2025, two different crops or a second crop per year will be grown on all plots for four years. And there is an exception to the rules for seed corn. »
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