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Éléments pour une nouvelle politique agricole

Listed author(s):
  • Jacques Le Cacheux
  • Henri Mendras

[eng] Elements of a new Agricultural Policy Jacques Le Cacheux et Henri Mendras The European common agricultural policy (CAP) had initially been conceived as a device to ensure the expansion of agricultural production thanks to the modernization of techniques and the intensification of agriculture. It had however tended to degenerate into a system of management of agricultural decline. From the point of view of the European objective of self-sufficiency and in terms of export performance, especially for France, this policy may be said to have been a success, as may be ascertained by the various economic indicators availabe. But in spite of direct subsidies and an increasingly costly price support mechanism for basic foodstuffs, the French agricultural population has continued to shrink at an annual rate of 2 to 3 % ; average incomes have been more or less maintained, but only thanks to the declining number of farmers ; and disequilibria have persisted, insofar as this tendency has not led to the disappearance of excess supplies, notably for milk and cereals. Hence, up until the recent reform, the CAP was essentially feeding the disequilibria that have been killing the profession. The new CAP only attempts to remedy the persistant tendency to excess supply by curbing the incentives to produce. It is therefore perceived by farmers as a device meant to accelerate their disappearance or, through direct income support, to « preserve the species », in the same way as has been done elsewhere for native Americans or even threatened animal species. How to design a genuine agricultural policy that would be viable in the long run remains an open issue : although it offers a number of promising directions, the present paper is no more than an invitation to reflect on such an alternative policy. [fre] Conçue pour assurer une expansion des productions agricoles par la modernisation des exploitations et l'intensification, l'ancienne Politique agricole commune (PAC) européenne, dont la réforme suscite aujourd'hui l'inquiétude des agriculteurs, avait dégénéré en un système de gestion du déclin agricole. Malgré les subventions directes et un soutien de plus en plus coûteux des cours, la population agricole a continué de décliner à un rythme soutenu (entre - 2 % et - 3 % par an) ; le revenu moyen ne s'est maintenu que par ce déclin ; de plus les déséquilibres demeurent, puisque les départs n'entraînent pas la résorption des excédents de produits de base, notamment le lait et les céréales. L'ancienne PAC servait donc principalement à nourrir les déséquilibres dont meurent les agriculteurs. La nouvelle PAC tente de remédier à la surproduction agricole en limitant les incitations à la production. De ce fait, elle donne aux agriculteurs le sentiment qu'il s'agit simplement d'organiser leur lente disparition ou, par les aides directes, de « préserver l'espèce », comme on le fait des Indiens dans leur réserve ou des animaux en voie de disparition. La question d'une politique agricole réellement viable à long terme reste en fait ouverte : c'est à la réflexion sur cette autre politique agricole qu'invite cet article, en indiquant quelques pistes pour une véritable ambition agricole.

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Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Observations et diagnostics économiques : revue de l'OFCE.

Volume (Year): 42 (1992)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 95-134

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Handle: RePEc:prs:rvofce:ofce_0751-6614_1992_num_42_1_1290
Note: DOI:10.3406/ofce.1992.1290
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  1. Gordon C. Rausser, 1992. "Predatory versus Productive Government: The Case of U.S. Agricultural Policies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 133-157, Summer.
  2. Henri Mendras, 1983. "Plaidoyer pour une politique de développement rural," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 4(1), pages 123-144.
  3. Ulrich Koester & Stephan Cramon-Taubadel, 1992. "EC Agricultural reform ad infinitum?," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 27(4), pages 151-156, July.
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