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Agricultural devastation: easier to “lift the earth” than to know how to work it!

VSLike them, I was a market gardener until the 2000s – 13 hectares of inflatable double-walled greenhouse, production of plants, above-ground cultivation of tomatoes and cucumbers, cultivation of salads and artichokes in the open field… And then, because we were on the border with Spain, we had to close up shop, as we were faced with the game of unfair imports. Since then, market gardening and arboriculture in the Pyrénées-Orientales have been reduced to their minimum portions. I know, like them, what the caprice of the elements provokes in the peasant, when the snow (as in the Pyrénées-Orientales in 1992) causes the greenhouses to collapse or when the wind flaps the tarpaulins in the middle of the night, when the boiler breaks down, when the drilling dries up, when the price lists collapse, when the bailiff knocks on the door, when nothing has any more value…

But I have never experienced what Nantes market gardeners have just experienced. Perhaps because at the time, anti-farmer activists were not yet adored by some politicians, perhaps because the notion of ownership was still respected, perhaps because profitability and competitiveness were not were not systematically relayed to the rank of priorities to be diverted, to be eliminated. Perhaps because those who “lifted the earth” were those who knew how to work it. Perhaps, above all, because there were still union officials capable of being indignant other than by repeating at will: “Hang on, we’re here, we’ve understood you!” »

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In my time, yes, you have to talk like that… the fanatics who ransacked the vegetable farms of Nantes with complete impunity, whether or not they were intended for experimentation, and therefore for the improvement of production, would certainly not have never been able to renew their exploits a second time. This propensity to destroy everything that grows or helps to grow must stop. Because, having gone viral, it arouses a climate of anger which could, of course, degenerate. Knowing, moreover, that if they obviously have an economic impact, these actions are totally counterproductive ecologically speaking, since they condemn the efforts undertaken by research to limit the use of water and the use of phytosanitary products.

Right of reply

The agricultural unions (except of course the one that endorses, with the political support of the environmental leaders, the activist movements) must immediately support the vandalized farms and take legal action. They must do this by denouncing the looting of course, but also the loss of income, the financial, material and moral damage. Yes, moral, as some environmentalists do when they talk about the nuisance attributed to the agricultural world and the inconvenience caused by rural practices that supposedly prevent them from living their lives as sated and spoiled children.

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The FNSEA, the Young Farmers and the Rural Coordination must, without further delay, file a complaint in order to denounce all the abuses and other intrusions identified, all sectors combined and throughout the territory, for years. They must also demand from the State, not support, but acts and coercive measures against those who vandalize the tool of production. Just as they must demand from Arcom systematic rights of reply to incriminating programs broadcast against agriculture by certain media and in particular those belonging to the public service.

The onslaught of lies, preconceptions and environmentalist reasoning promoted by celebrities or pro-environmental journalists is influencing listeners and viewers to nauseating proportions and will end up legitimizing the actions of those who , in the name of nature, believe they are authorized to break everything.

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The stigmatization, whether active or passive, against the French agricultural world is precipitating the decline of our rurality and condemns, in the short term, our food autonomy already sufficiently battered by the flow of imported goods. As for those who destroy crops because they believe they are not food crops, we can ask ourselves if they deploy as much energy to destroy other productions. Those that we will qualify as irregular!

*Jean-Paul Pelras is a writer, former agricultural trade unionist and journalist. Editor-in-chief of the newspaper The Agri Pyrénées-Orientales and Aude, he is the author of around twenty essays, short stories and novels, winner of the Mediterranean Roussillon prize for A murder for memory and the Alfred-Sauvy Prize for The Old Boy. His latest work, Bien chers tous, was published by Éditions MBE (Aubrac/Espalion)

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