The following Jacques Carles’s op-ed piece was written as part of a partnership with the 2016 edition of the Paris International Agricultural Show that will address the theme of “People-focused Agriculture and Food”.
For the past 50 years, the Paris International Agricultural Show has been the annual meeting place for all key players in the agricultural community. It is the leading event in the sector, not only in France but also all over the world. The 2015 Show welcomed 691,058 visitors, 1,050 exhibitors and 3,859 animals covering four different fields––Livestock Breeding Sectors, Culinary Products, Crops and Plants as well as Agricultural Professions and Services––which visitors will enjoy again this year.
All information regarding the 2016 Paris International Agricultural Show to be held between February 27 and March 6 is available from the Show website at: https://www.salon-agriculture.com/
momagri Editorial Board
The theme “People-focused Agriculture and Food” that is given to the 2016 Paris International Agricultural Show prompts some scrutiny on both the place of agriculture in the social order and the political choices regarding its future.
Because all of us bear a responsibility for defining agricultural models and production systems in order to preserve our food independence and the diversity of supply, and consolidate economic activity in our rural areas.
What is at stake here is not only our competitiveness, but also our position in the global marketplace, our upstream and downstream employment and our nation’s interests.
Let us acknowledge the realities of the 21st century! Agriculture and food occupy a geostrategic position in the priorities of the majors powers––the United States, China, India, Brazil, Russia and Canada. This is also the case for countries where the relation between production and consumption is unbalanced, especially in developing nations.
Several factors are contributing to the situation: the population growth, improved standard of living in emerging countries, as well as divisions in a world overwhelmed by extreme conflicts. And let’s not forget the growing instability of agricultural markets.
What is the role to be played by Europe and France? Are we going to let the CAP shift to a free trade zone, where farmers, when deprived of market organization, no longer have any economic prominence?
Indeed, let us not fool ourselves: the CAP reform, which just came into effect, consigns a part of the agricultural community to an unprecedented crisis, and prevents it to cope with market imbalances and uncertainties due to a lack of appropriate courses of action.
Many farmers can no longer see a future and a purpose in their activities. This is exactly where some people-focused responsibility must be raised!
For instance, how can we tolerate the agricultural development model recently presented by the European Commission in its outlook for 2025? A model that involves increasing low priced exports combined with considerable job losses in agriculture. All of this is taking place in a context of non-regulated and speculative markets. It should be noted that this is the development model of poor countries, which do not control their agricultural and food future.
Do we want such model for our country and for Europe, when we represent a reserve that is second to none in know-how, practices, advances and quality?
As Chief Operating Officer of momagri, I welcome the initiative of the French Center for Agricultural Expositions and Contests (CENECA) to introduce the notion of social responsibility at the heart of thinking for the 2016 edition of the Show. In fact, the very plan to establish the momagri think tank was generated by this viewpoint of social responsibility in the French agricultural cooperative businesses.
Because they decided to find answers to market instability, price volatility and the risks impacting farmers’ revenues, momagri has now gained crucial analytical and influence capabilities.
As the world begins to organize the fight against climate change, it is now time to promote a movement of the same magnitude for agriculture and food. May the Show serve as the launch pad for such an undertaking!