Agrifood: "The losses and wastes are considerable"

Many farmers complain about agribashing and being criticized for using pesticides. How can they enable them to make a transition to more environmentally friendly agriculture? What role can research play?

It seems to me that agribashing is a false problem. It certainly exists in particular sectors, such as animal husbandry. But overall, studies show, the French love their farmers. What is first questioned is the whole agroindustrial system, as it has developed over more than fifty years. Not the farmers themselves, who are the first victims of this system in which they found themselves trapped. Agribashing is a bit of a red rag waved to avoid tackling more complex issues, such as the need for a transition to agricultural systems that are more respectful of the women and men who make it up, of animals and of the environment. The very notion of agribashing prevents the development of a peaceful bond between farmers and consumers. Yet it is this relationship that would be the engine of such a transition. Research obviously has an important role to play in proposing alternatives, developing agroecological models, etc. But very often, the solutions are known. What is missing is an effective transfer of knowledge from research to agricultural professionals. And beyond research, in fine, it is strong political decisions that will allow a real transition. At the European level in particular, where the common agricultural policy is negotiated which is really the instrument which shapes our agricultural model.

Climate change poses a threat to global food security. How to deal with it, always with the imperative of being able to feed a growing world population?

It is both an urgent and an extremely complex issue. We know how climate change affects the food security of the most vulnerable populations. To do this, many adaptation strategies are implemented, but they are not enough. Food security is not only a question of availability of food, it is also necessary to be able to access it, physically and economically ... On the other hand, the agricultural, forestry and pastoral sectors play an important role (and this role should be strengthened) as a shock absorber in the face of climate change: carbon storage in soils and biomass products and energy substitution (wood-energy).

The latest FAO report warns of the scale of food loss and waste. How to encourage citizens and large retailers to be more mobilized?

Losses and waste in food systems are considerable. They take place at all stages: production, processing, distribution and consumption. It is considered that in the world, all that is produced and ultimately not consumed occupies areas of land equivalent to the area of ​​Mexico, and consumes equivalent amounts of water in Lake Geneva ... There are many campaigns to alert the consumers. But education is not enough. Still it is necessary to have the physical or cognitive means to limit waste. And consumers are doing with an agrifood product offer that does nothing to limit waste: packaging of large quantities in promotional offers, etc. So here again, the public authorities could take measures to force the food industry to limit their effects on waste. All the responsibility cannot rest on the shoulders of consumers alone.


Back to news list