French president lays out roadmap for ag policy

by Eric Schroeder
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Emmanuel Macron president of France
Macron also has put the impetus on farmers to implement strategic plans proposed by the various agricultural sectors.
Photo courtesy of the government of France.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — French President Emmanuel Macron has drafted a roadmap for future French agricultural policy and proposed a new law to forward the vision, according to a Feb. 15 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The law, which is expected to be considered by the French Parliament this fall, contains three areas of focus: farm income, agricultural trade, and sustainability.

In terms of farm income, Macron has proposed food prices be determined based on production costs, which would provide a countervailing power to the four retailers that represent more than 90% of retail food purchases in France.

“According to the draft law, farm organizations would estimate minimum prices that match average production costs in each region,” the USDA noted in the report. “Farmers would propose a price to the industry and then negotiations would occur with government observers. This is only applicable for products bought under a contract, such as dairy, fruits and vegetables.”

Macron also has put the impetus on farmers to implement strategic plans proposed by the various agricultural sectors.

In the area of agricultural trade, social and environmental constraints of French farmers should be addressed in trade agreements, Macron said. He also indicated France should strive to reach self-sufficiency in plant proteins.

“This goal was initiated in 2014 and although it has increased domestic production of soy and other plant proteins, production only provides a fraction of the demand and soybean imports have not decreased,” the USDA noted.

Finally, the draft law has proposed an increased focus on sustainability. Specifically, Macron has proposed a quick ban on glyphosate (but not without an alternative), as well as a goal of 50% organic, locally grown or quality labeled food in all French government food purchases by 2022.

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