With Emmanuel Macron’s election, recent political events in France have led to many changes in ministries. The new minister for agriculture as of 21 June 2017 is Stéphane Travert, replacement for Jacques Mézard whom had been nominated just a few weeks before to replace Stéphane Le Foll. The latter had acquired international visibility with the 4per1000 initiative itself. The International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) had even shown recognition of his merits by awarding a medal. Thanks to his personal commitment, we must add that the notion of carbon accumulation in soil as an element guaranteeing food security and an answer to climate-related challenges has once again been set on the international agenda.
It is still too early to tell what direction the new French minister will take. In theory, the new political climate should not affect the 4 per 1000 Initiative too much, as it is already structured and consolidated. Perhaps at the next meeting in Bonn we will be able to understand if the current Minister will keep on with the initiative in an equally passionate manner. His physical presence would confirm that the French government is still marching along the same indicated path.
The EU people4soil campaign is in full swing. Initiatives to attract people’s attention and gather more signatures are even more creative. France is known for alternative transport ideas, particularly cycling: this summer one of the people4soil organisations, France Nature Environnement will be touring festivals and other local events with fully equipped tricycles. Time and dates are available on their website.
A nice video in French was made to request funding for the tricycles: it also explains the subject of soil and the signature gathering in just 90 seconds.
One of the stereotypes regarding agriculture in Europe is that farmers are usually older people that work their fields without perspectives for the future. The conference ‘Access to land for farmers in the EU’ held last December confirmed this data but at the same time indicated the causes for which young farmers have huge difficulties to access land. Let us start from the present picture: 45% of EU farmers are less than 55 years old, and 6% are younger than 35.
Who are the farmers of this 6%? Can we rely on their ideas, perspectives, and ambitions? In other words, can we still have hope for European agriculture? Continue reading “Young European Farmers”