At the meeting of the 54th Salon of Agriculture, Benoit Hamon responded to questions from the Manifesto of Barcelonne-du-Gers on the worries of young farmers, which were posed to him by the editors of the newspaper Sud Ouest.
How can the farmer make a better living from his/her craft? What levers are there?
The agricultural crisis that we are living is unprecedented. Global competition weighs on prices of primary goods, there's a race to the bottom in distribution, and the food processing industry pushes prices down: so more and more farmers no longer succeed in digging themselves out.
I want to improve the day-to-day situation of farmers; in particular, by assuring them a decent income. I want to ensure that they can live decently from their production. A universal income will allow farmers to be protected against climatic and economic rolls of the dice. To address these hazards, I will also put in place a voluntarist political regime to rebalance power relations between producers and buyers, at the national and European level; this will also protect them from random fluctuations in the prices of products on the market.
I also want farmers to have better access to care, as they suffer much from health problems* linked to the toughness of their work. I wish to protect them against the job risks of pesticides, and recognize poisoning by phytosanitary agents** as a professional illness. Equally, I wish to generalize the right to respite, so that workers who have become exhausted or burned-out can be replaced. Financial concerns should no longer be a barrier to farmers in great difficulty giving themselves rest.
I want to see the progress made in these last few years continued, and better use made of newly created devices.
( More to follow Monday. )
*The French is "affections," which must be an error. I'm assuming Hamon meant "afflictions."
**I know almost nothing about this issue; there may be much better translations.