Let us remember that the CMR, Christians in the rural world, because it is strongly anchored in rural territories and counts many farmers among its members, is well placed to note for many years the widening inequalities and growing uncertainties, the precariousness, isolation and despair of people crushed by debt in the agricultural world. The increasing number of suicides in this profession (we are talking about one per day) is the most painful sign.
Read the CMR press release here
What does the text say? First, he takes the time to analyze the deepest causes of peasant unease. Before addressing the immediate suffering of farmers lacking income, the document prefers to mention the “economic system, based on free trade agreements and their capacity to export all over the world, which impoverishes and weakens women and men in France and beyond.” He also cites the ongoing privatization of land and water resources by a few large producers and the commodification of its production to the detriment of the traditional function of serving the food of a local population. To these systemic causes, the press release does not forget to mention the necessary adaptations to come in the face of the climate crisis and the concern for the dignity of people.
We are therefore a long way from the demands heard throughout the week and fueled by the dominant unions in the French agricultural world. The one who is capable of removing roadblocks after having obtained positive responses to his sectoral demands.
The press release prefers to evoke an “ethics of responsibility” which tries to take into account all the dimensions of the problem and not just the means to maintain the current system, however exhausted, excessively subsidized and destructive of lives and landscapes. It thus refers to the responsibility of the citizen consumers that we are and also to the agricultural structures which were originally founded on a sense of cooperation which is lost in the current liberal economy. The worlds of agri-food and public authorities are invited to remember that they are supposed to serve the “common good” and not just immediate interests.
Much more than the press releases from the bishops of France, the CMR makes concrete proposals to break the deadlock: reduction of administrative burdens and support adapted to each operation. Stabilization of income by enforcing the Egalim law and reduction of imports which destabilize markets and practices. Adaptation of the pension system for farmers. Without forgetting to “redefine the place and role of agro-supplies and agri-food” and to encourage “the autonomy of production systems, support for the ecological transition and short circuits.”