The agricultural sector is facing a major crisis. Today, the tools we have at our disposal to withstand it are insufficient. It is therefore essential to launch a debate at European level on the real necessity to support agriculture in a different way.
The agricultural sector is in difficulty today and has to confront:
- a highly volatile market with the prices paid to producers in free-fall, whereas the prices the consumers have to pay continue to rise;
- a decline of almost 70% over the last 30 years in the number of farms and farm workers in Belgium;
- rising imports of agricultural products (soy, corn, sugar, etc.) making the European Union dependent on countries where production quality standards are significantly more lax (GMO, health checks, etc.);
It is therefore necessary to take positive action to maintain and develop viable agricultural production, able to reflect the specificities of agriculture, local expression and culture and avoid both industrial standardisation and a loss of plant and animal diversity.
These measures must be based on the common principle of agricultural exception.
As with culture, the affirmation of the agricultural exception will enable the recognition that agricultural and food industry products cannot be treated as if they have a purely commercial value.
This vision of the future of agriculture must be carried at both national and international level. This is the aim of the Charter based on a wide range of contributions and to which we invite all those who so wish to subscribe, whether they hold political office, represent the agricultural sector, etc. in Belgium or abroad.
On the local level, the battle will be led via a motion directly inspired by the Charter, and which may be lodged with the different municipal and provincial councils.
Food security, the right to food and the protection of agricultural diversity are the priorities.
The creation and implementation of an agricultural exception will allow each State to establish its own food and agricultural policy and adopt the measures it considers appropriate to ensure the food security of its own population, preserve its own agricultural model and achieve its own objectives for human development.
This fight for an agricultural exception will pursue a triple objective: food security, the safeguarding of rural life and societies and the protection of nature and biodiversity.
Supporting agriculture, is supporting both the producers and the consumers. It is a question of democratic health!