The deputy Olivier Damaisin submitted Tuesday to the Prime Minister a report presenting avenues to better support farmers in difficulty and try to stop the suicides that regularly mourn the profession.
It relies in particular on the training of citizens "sentinels" to direct them towards support systems.
How can we better protect suffering farmers?
In 2015 alone, 372 suicides of farmers had been recorded, more than one per day, according to the most recent statistics from the agricultural social security, the MSA.
"It's a kind of spiral. The person does not want to die, they want to stop psychological suffering," explains Joëlle Dupuy, psychologist in charge of the sickness unit of the agricultural mutual.
Farmers in distress, she follows around sixty a year.
“A story of trust,” she says.
Tuesday, the LREM deputy of Lot-et-Garonne Olivier Damaisin gave the Prime Minister a report presenting avenues to support farmers in difficulty earlier.
It recommends in particular to better coordinate their support locally and to train more citizens "sentinels" to direct them more quickly towards support systems, such as those of the MSA.
"We have to call on the neighbors, for example. We tell ourselves that the less taboo it will be to go badly, the more the others will be able to detect the signs that make it possible to say 'hey, he is bad' ', explains Laurence d 'Aldeguié, president of the MSA of Midi-Pyrénées.
"We must put humanity in the cogs"
In this sense, Olivier Damaisin suggests disseminating more widely "general and non-stigmatizing information on malaise so that it is not a taboo subject" and to make listening platforms better known, such as Agri'écoute, financed by the agricultural social security (MSA) and accessible 24 hours a day at 09.69.39.29.19.
He also pleads for an annual publication of the suicide death rate and a "detailed analysis of the typology of the farmers concerned and the causes".
It is "not normal", he says, that the most recent figures on the subject date from 2015.
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Agriculture: a mentoring system to better prevent suicides?
"This is the first time that there has been such an audit and such a mapping of agricultural ill-being. There are concrete proposals which have been made by the deputy", rejoices Edouard Bergeon, director of
Au nom de la terre
, a film released in 2019 that highlighted the difficulties of the agricultural world.
Son of a peasant, he knows his subject well since his own father committed suicide.
"Now, we have to put humanity in the cogs. Between the bankers, the agricultural social mutuality, the management centers and the Safer (
Land development and rural establishment company, nldr
). Today it is is a bit of a jungle and it's difficult to understand the agricultural world. When you're on your farm, in debt, you often put the accounting aside. "
Four times fewer farmers than in the 1980s
According to the latest INSEE study, there are four times fewer farmers in France than in the 1980s. At the time, they represented 7% of the country's jobs, compared to 1.5% today.
They also represent an aging population: one in two farmers is over 50 years old.
"The revaluation of agriculture and its social role are necessary", notes Olivier Damaisin.
Taking up the term "agribashing", popularized by the first trade union of the profession FNSEA, he considers that the protest against pesticides or intensive farming systems sends back to farmers "a devaluing image of their profession" which can stack up with the rest of their difficulties.
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In addition to financial problems and the devaluation of their profession, farmers also suffer from a much more sustained pace of work than the rest of the French.
They work an average of 55 hours per week, compared to 37 for non-farmers.
The deputy LREM pleads on this subject to continue to give to the MSA the means of its "respite assistance", which finances the replacement up to 10 days of the members in situation of professional exhaustion, allowing them to rest.