projects around land ownership revive fears of the financialization of agriculture

projects around land ownership revive fears of the financialization of agriculture

Access to land is a hot topic for young farmers. However, in the government’s draft orientation law for sovereignty in agricultural matters and the renewal of generations in agriculture, the examination of which must begin Tuesday, May 14, in the National Assembly, it is not at the heart of the debates – except to note the presence, from the first version of the text, of an article giving birth to “agricultural land investment groups”, otherwise designated by their acronym GFAI.

Article 12 in question might seem technical. For the executive, which defends the measure, these groups must make it possible to raise money from private investors, in order to buy land and rent it to new farmers. But many observers have warned of the risk of financialization of agriculture and an increase in land prices that this land tool could represent.

An awareness which led, against the advice of the government, to the vote on amendments to delete article 12, during the passage of the text of the law in committee, in the Assembly, on May 4. They were adopted by 24 votes to 16. Due to the fears expressed by a coalition bringing together the opposition and some Macronists, the general rapporteur, the deputy for Marne Eric Girardin (Renaissance), had nevertheless planned to submit a rewriting of the ‘article. to elected officials meeting in committee, by adding safeguards.

The example of the forestry sector

In fact, before appearing in the agricultural law in the form of article 12, a bill ratifying the creation of the GFAI had already been adopted, at first reading, by the Senate, at the end of October 2023, with the support of the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau. The rapporteur of the law should propose, with the support of the government, a new wording of the land portage system to submit it to the session.

This new corporate form echoes the agricultural land groups (GFA) which emerged at the turn of the 1970s. The objective was then to facilitate the transmission of a farming operation within a family by dissociating the ownership which could be distributed between several generations and land management. The farm is rented in the form of a tenancy or sharecropping contract, with the option for the operator to gradually buy back the parts from his relatives. The number of GFAs, whose shareholders are natural persons, is estimated at nearly 10,000 in the territory.

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Mattie B. Jiménez

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