Following a call from the Farmers Confederation and the National Organic Federation, organic farmers of Occitania have joined the movement and will demonstrate on June 2nd in Paris against the CAP reform.
For the National Federation of Organic Farmers (FNAB), “with the CAP reform, the government is stripping organic farmers to the bone.”
“We are more than concerned,” explains Séverine Lascombe, fruit and vegetable producer and co-president of Bio Occitanie (regional group of organic farmers).
The support system to organic farmers includes aids for the conversion to organic farming and aids to maintain the farms, both over a period of 5 years. “This means that in terms of agronomy, it takes 10 years for farmers to change their model and for all those who practice organic farming without phytosanitary products or synthetic fertilizers to be recognized,” explains Séverine Lascombe on France TV.
The unions criticize the Ministry for wanting to reduce the aid to maintain these organic farms. “What will probably happen is that the 11,000 producers of Occitania who are now converting to organic farming will back out and return to conventional farming. For biodiversity, this is terrible.”
The French Minister of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, plans a 340 million euro [415 million USD] aid for organic conversion in order to reach 18% of organic crops in France by 2027. But according to the unions, the problem is that, in parallel, the Ministry wants to reduce the aid for maintaining these organic farms.
Cécile Cluzet, administrator of the organic producer association in the Ariège, “The CAP is essentially saying that farmers will receive the same aid whether they quit using phytosanitary products and chemical fertilizers or not. It is not a very good argument to encourage organic conversion. Now is also the time when the sector is waiting for the directives to decide whether or not to commit to this type of agriculture. At the moment, the Ministry of Agriculture’s decisions are not favorable at all.”
According to the farmers’ unions, the European aid depends on the size of the farms, which disadvantages the smaller producers.
Laurence Marandola explains that “the Common Agricultural Policy of Brussels consists of 9.5 billion euros [11.60 billion USD]. 2% go to organic farming although we represent 10% and the rest goes to the 430,000 conventional farmers.” 30% of the farms being small, they will not be able to benefit from any aid.