An innovative approach to serve agricultural sectors across the globe
By Pierre Pagesse,
President of Momagri
Pierre Pagesse Opening Speech at the Second edition of the Dakar Agricole, held in Dakar on April 18 and 19
"I am very honourd to be here today and I would particularly like to thank His Excellency President Abdoulaye Wade, who launched this second edition of Dakar Agricole on the very strategic theme of agricultural market regulation and the global governance of agriculture.
I would also like to thank:
• Heads of State
My name is Pierre Pagesse. I am a farmer from Auvergne, at the heart of a region of France which offers both mountains and a beautiful fertile plain called Limagne, renowned for the quality of its produce and the effectiveness of its research in plant improvement.
• Heads of Government
• Heads of Delegation
• Agricultural officials,
• Scientists and the experts from the scientific world,
who are present today.
It is the land of a former President of the Republic, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, one of the great architects in the construction of Europe.
As you can see, I am proud of my origins and my region. I am committed to its values: the respect for work and continued effort, the ambition for performance, the culture of progress, innovation and openness to the world.
I started out with around ten hectares 35 years ago, today I run a farm of one hundred hectares of specialised vegetable crops. As a grower of corn and vegetable seeds, I am the President of Limagrain, an agricultural cooperative group and the 4th seed producer in the world. Our turnover is close to 1.5 billion euros. Limagrain invests 14% of its turnover in research, with nearly 7000 employees in 35 countries on five continents.
Traveling around the world to meet our customers and employees, I was able to measure the diversity in crops and the richness of civilizations. I understood the necessity of satisfying needs, in terms of food, of course - and it is a priority - but also in terms of biomass and energy. I also witnessed the unrest among by my fellow farmers, who, no longer able to live in dignity through their jobs, are now uncertain about their future and what they will become.
I have come across this existential question on every continent: in India, China, Africa, Brazil, but also in Europe and the United States. Of course, the situation is different between developing, emerging and developed countries.
For my part, I have increased my productivity twenty-fold since my beginnings and today I produce enough calories to feed over 1000 people. But without the aid from the CAP, I would not be able to feed myself! So what about the farmers from emerging countries who do not receive such support in a context of high population growth.
This situation is absurd. The persistent arguments among negotiators at the WTO only mask a simple fact: the WTO cannot deal effectively with issues such as agricultural production and food security.
I have been following the evolution of multilateral negotiations for many years and the situation has not improved.
Thanks to my observations, I have been able to reunite many representatives from the French agricultural sector. We began to raise awareness among European leaders. I fully understand the concern of African leaders.
Representatives from the health, humanitarian and environmental sectors have joined our ranks. Momagri, the movement for an international organisation for agriculture, was born. That was in 2005.
To create the conditions which will lead to the development of all types of agriculture, in whatever region, by integrating all elements, be they economic, social, territorial, humanitarian, environmental, technological or even cultural.
In agriculture, liberalization without regulation is like democracy without law. That is why we believe that the intelligent regulation of markets is the essential foundation for development, growth and food security.
The planet needs all the world's agriculture.
It is futile to believe that we can meet the needs of 9 billion people by concentrating production in countries with the cheapest prices, often disregarding the social and environmental minimum standards! In agriculture, Ricardo's comparative does not work: Who can believe that Australia and Argentina have the capacity to deliver wheat to the world?
It is based on three pillars:
First, feed the international thought process by providing analytical tools, including an economic model that demonstrates that agriculture is both strategic and specific and which also enables us to assess the risks of price volatility, which is caused by endogenous factors linked to a production activity.
Next, we created a rating agency which will provide the international community with the decision making indicators that are so badly needed today.
Finally, we propose the principles of a new global agricultural governance that takes into account all of agriculture's particularities.
I hope that during these two days we will have the opportunity to explore all these topics and that the findings of these studies will provide the foundations to future international negotiations, including the G20 which has added the issue of agricultural commodity markets to its agenda.
Again, I would like to thank His Excellency the President Abdoulaye Wade for his initiative. It is up to us to provide him with the best conclusions so he can use them in international negotiations, particularly at the G8 and G20."