Hail revives divisions over crop insurance reform


After the frost in April and the drought in May, the episode of hail that occurred at the beginning of June once again had a heavy impact on French farms. According to the French storm observatory, June 4 was the stormiest day for more than three years, with hailstones reaching 7 to 8 centimeters in diameter in places. Very significant damage was observed in more than 40 departments on vines, crops and buildings. In the process, the government announced a series of measures such as the reduction of social charges, the tax exemption on unbuilt land and the staggering of the repayment of loans guaranteed by the State (PGE). Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau visited several farms affected by hail in Gironde, Gers and Yvelines.

As cereal crops mature, hail losses will be substantial on affected farms. The damage is also particularly worrying in wine-growing and arboricultural farms in many production areas.”, moved the FNSEA in a press release. For the majority union, “This episode is a reminder of the importance of successfully completing the reform of risk management, the implementing texts of which are still being prepared. Its implementation on 1er January 2023 is an imperative”.

“Measures”

The other unions, which also reacted by means of a press release, are not at all of the same opinion. For the Modef, the “measurements” announced by the government are insufficient”. He calls to “recognition in natural disaster with the activation of the National Agricultural Risk Management Fund (FNGRA)”and asks “the change in the allocation of FNGRA criteria because many farmers are excluded from the measures”. The Modef recalls that it “has been fighting for several years for the establishment of a system based primarily on solidarity” and ask “the creation of a mutual insurance scheme for climatic and health hazards taking into account all economic players, supervised by the State”.

Same story on the side of the Confédération paysanne, opposed to the government’s proposal to reform crop insurance. And to list the pitfalls of this reform: “insufficient financing of the system, soaring insurance rates in the face of the multiplication of climatic hazards, financial inability of farms affected by several disasters to pay an insurance contribution, absence of insurance offer in several sectors, inadequacy of the basis for calculating compensation (average of returns over the last 5 years)”.

“More than ever, the series of climatic disasters shows that this reform must be repealed and replaced by a fairer and more efficient mutual and solidarity fund, financed by the State, the agricultural profession and also by companies making a profit direct economic impact of maintaining agriculture, i.e. the upstream (input, machinery, etc.) and downstream (food-processing) industries”believes the Conf ‘.

The Rural Coordination also reaffirmed its “strong opposition to this forced privatization of risks in the face of agricultural calamities”.

The law on the reform of crop insurance, which has been passed, must apply from January 1, 2023. It aims to encourage farmers to take out more insurance.

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