Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP 9:20 p.m., February 19, 2024

This Monday, a few days before the opening of the Agricultural Show in Paris, farmers demonstrated from Dunkirk to Marseille to maintain pressure on the government. Despite the announcements of Gabriel Attal, who is due to hold a press conference dedicated to the agricultural crisis on Wednesday, the anger of farmers does not weaken.

Farmers demonstrated on Monday from Dunkirk to Marseille to maintain pressure on a government from which they expect more than "half measures" a few days before the opening of the Agricultural Show in Paris. The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron will receive according to the Elysée Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. the president of the Young Farmers (JA), Arnaud Gaillot, then at 4:00 p.m. that of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau - the two agricultural unions are allies and largely in the majority.

Emmanuel Macron spoke last week with other representatives of the profession (Rural Coordination, Peasant Confederation and Modef). Its Prime Minister Gabriel Attal will hold a press conference on Wednesday dedicated to the agricultural crisis. A month after the start of a long wave of demonstrations, the head of government will discuss the rewriting of the agricultural bill which had been suspended at the start of the crisis, as well as the monitoring and execution of measures already announced by the government . 

“The Agricultural Show will be under pressure”

Since the last burst of government announcements on February 1, ranging from the payment of emergency aid to simplification decrees including a "pause" on the Ecophyto pesticide reduction plan, farmers have continued to repeat that They want to see the first results before the opening of the show on Saturday. A convoy of around forty tractors paraded through the center of Marseille on Monday, spreading manure in front of administrative buildings. “The Agricultural Show will be under pressure, we will be there and we will not be there to enhance their communication services, we will be there to harangue them and to obtain things,” assured Laurent Depieds, regional director of the FNSEA, at the initiative of the demonstration, with the JA.

In the Marne, members of the JA dumped manure, wheels and pallets in front of the prefecture in Chalons-en Champagne, but also in front of the sub-prefectures of Reims, Vitry-le-François and Epernay, they said. they indicated. In Dunkirk, around fifty tractors carried out a snail operation Monday morning. “It is not because people have returned to the farms that the subject is over”, repeated on Europe 1 the president of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau. 


 Agriculture: “We encourage us to maintain the pressure,” declares Arnaud Rousseau, president of the FNSEA

During the inauguration of the Agricultural Show on Saturday, Emmanuel Macron will have to announce "what his vision of agriculture is for the coming years and what we are doing right away", insisted Arnaud Rousseau. “We are trying to find a format so that he [Emmanuel Macron] can express his vision,” a source within the executive told AFP, while the president is used to extended walks (1 p.m. last year), without a formal speech. The government is under no illusion: “We will never get satisfaction from farmers anyway.”

“Also the grandmothers’ living room”

The annual meeting - the 60th - expects around 600,000 visitors in nine days, at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center, in this electric climate. Faced with the risk of demonstrations, security will be brought "to the maximum", indicated Arnaud Lemoine, director of Ceneca, the organization which owns the event, Thursday on BFMTV. “Obviously, it’s the farmers’ fair, obviously we understand the demands (…) and the demonstrations. But the demonstrations [are] not at the fair,” he argued. “Despite everything, the living room must remain a beautiful celebration,” he insisted, stressing that “it is also the living room of grandmothers, strollers, families.”

On Monday, the organizers called in a press release on participants to "promote friendly and constructive exchanges", but also to "remain reasoned and responsible in the event of alcohol consumption", the show being regularly the scene of alcoholic excesses. Before the European elections in June, political leaders should parade in front of Oreillette, the show's muse cow, a five-year-old from Normandy, raised in Orne by François Foucault and his daughter Lucie.


 Farmers' anger: the government's promises are slow to materialize, according to farmers

The Agricultural Show has taken place every year in Paris since 1964, except in 2021, the edition canceled due to the Covid-19 epidemic. The event belongs to the National Center for Agricultural Exhibitions and Competitions (Ceneca), made up of major agricultural organizations, in particular the Unigrains investment fund, founded by French cereal growers, the FNSEA and its beet growers association CGB.