Fruits and vegetables

Achieving a balance in trade relations in the agricultural sector and healthy and sustainable food

The French National Food Conference (EGAlim), which took place between 20 July and 21 December 2017 and involved 11 ministries, has produced a bill to ensure a balance in trade relations in the agricultural sector and healthy and sustainable food.
 

WHAT DOES THIS INVOLVE?


Announced on the closing day of the French National Food Conference (EGAlim), the roadmap supports the Government’s food policy, which is structured around three strategic aims:

  • Guarantee France’s food sovereignty
  • Promote healthy food choices that respect the environment
  • Reduce inequality in accessing good quality, sustainable food

The bill is the primary tool for implementing this roadmap.

The bill has three objectives:

  • Pay fair prices to producers, allowing them to earn a decent living from their work
  • Reinforce the health, environmental and nutritional quality of products
  • Promote healthy, safe and sustainable food for all

Improve the balance in trade relations in the food and agricultural sector

Guaranteeing food sovereignty, in particular through preserving agricultural production capacity and ensuring a fair price for farmers.

  • The process of constructing the price paid to farmers is reversed and is now based on producers’ production costs. The contract and associated price will be proposed by the seller.
    Objective: ensure a better distribution among stakeholders of the value created.
  • Negociation reopening is made easier in the event of changes in production costs, over a shorter time period.
    Objective: ease the process of renegotiation in order to avoid deadlock.
  • The resale-below-cost threshold is raised to 10% and promotions are regulated.
    Objective: fight price deflation and ensure the fair distribution of value.
  • The fight against predatory pricing is widened and stepped up.
    Objective: put an end to the price war which impoverishes producers and weakens entire sections of the French agri-food industry.
  • Agricultural mediation is facilitated and strengthened and the role of inter-branch organisations is strengthened.
    Objective: facilitate the handling of disputes and provide methodological support to producers.

Reinforce the health, environmental and nutritional quality of products in order to achieve healthy, good quality, sustainable food

This reflects the Government’s desire to carry through a food policy that promotes choices protecting the health capital of every individual and the environmental capital of all.

  • In terms of marketing plant protection products, sales and consultancy activities are separated and the system of "plant protection product savings certificates" is safeguarded by way of order. Discounts, rebates and price reductions on the sale of these products are prohibited.
    Objective: make farming less dependent on plant protection products.
  • The investigation and oversight powers of health protection, animal protection and food safety officers are strengthened.
    Objective: increase the efficiency of inspections.
  • The offence of animal cruelty is extended and the penalties doubled. Animal welfare organisations may bring civil actions in cases sanctioned under the Rural and Marine Fisheries Code and which are identified during the course of an official inspection.
    Objective: strengthen powers of sanction in the field of animal welfare.

Enable everyone to access healthy, safe and sustainable food

The Government is making food policy a driving force in reducing social inequalities.

  • From 1 January 2022, at least 50% of products sourced by public sector collective catering must be organically grown, locally produced or quality-certified.
    Objective: make collective catering a means for improving food quality.
  • Food waste is reduced in the collective catering sector through implementing an obligatory assessment procedure and extending food donations to include the collective catering sector and agri-food industry.
    Objective: tackle food insecurity and limit the environmental impact of waste

WHY?

Food sovereignty is based on preserving agricultural production capacity. Today however, French agriculture has been weakened.

Even though it continues to lead in the field of production, both in terms of volume and value, our agricultural sector has for many years been suffering from a "price war" and a move upmarket which does not adequately meet the legitimate expectations of the consumer. It is these two handicaps which must be remedied.
 

It is therefore essential to put an end to this "price war" which has led to the impoverishment of producers and the weakening of entire sections of the French agri-food industry.

The Government’s food policy also aims to promote food choices which protect the health capital of every individual as well as our shared environmental capital.

Finally, food policy must be a factor in reducing social inequalities by enabling everyone to access healthy, safe and sustainable food.


ACTION TAKEN


  • 31 January 2018: presentation of the bill during the Council of Ministers
  • 21 December 2017: close of the EGAlim and publication of the Government’s roadmap
  • 20 July 2017: opening of the EGAlim (French National Food Conference)