France: faced with the idea of ​​“floor prices”, farmers’ unions remain cautious

To try once again to calm the anger of farmers, Emmanuel Macron, visiting the Agricultural Show on Saturday February 24, relaunched the idea of ​​a minimum price – a “floor price” – which would cover production costs .

But faced with this initiative, the farmers' unions remain cautious and also want to have their say.

Visitors pass by Limousin cows during the 60th Agricultural Show in Paris, France, February 25, 2024. © GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

By: RFI Follow


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This minimum price proposal has been at the heart of the demands of

agricultural professionals

for several weeks in France.

This would involve including in a future law – the vote of which is planned for this summer – the principle of a “floor price”, developed according to the production costs of each sector: poultry, milk, beef, etc.

Preserve agricultural incomes thanks to floor prices below which agri-food manufacturers will not be able to go?

The idea appeals, but for Yohann Barbe of the FNSEA union, it will be necessary to take into account the

vagaries of the markets

What we want is not floor prices


what we want are prices set by inter-professional indicators or technical institutes.

The fear with the floor price is that it is a floor price and a maximum price at the same time, so we definitely shouldn't have that.

The advantage of using indicators is that they evolve according to the markets

 ,” he says. 

Take production costs into account

To define these floor prices,

the government

says it wants to rely on “

the agricultural production cost indicator


Provided that this encompasses several criteria, believes Laurence Marandola, spokesperson for the Confédération paysanne. 

The question of floor prices, for us, must include the cost of production, that is to say our costs and our suppliers.

This must include remuneration for our work, which for us, at the Peasant Confederation, obviously includes social protection.

It will be an average of the costs, of the different types of operations.

Some won't be able to find it, but for the majority, on average, it can finally allow them to not work at a loss

 ,” she reports.

“Floor prices” whose implementation will also depend on the food industry, distributors and consumers who will also be involved. 

A “very productive” logic

The idea of ​​this measure is not new.

It had already been implemented

at European level

, in the common agricultural policy, before being abandoned, because it led to overproduction, recalls Christian Gollier, economist and general director of the Toulouse School of Economics. 

It took us 20 years at European level to get rid of this common agricultural policy based on floor prices.

So today, seeing that this policy led to disasters, we have dismantled this way of doing things.

Now in Europe, we have alternative methods.

The idea is rather to replace these floor prices, which are very productivist: the more you produce, the higher income you obtain.

So it encourages us to produce more, and that’s not necessarily what we want to do today in Europe

 ,” he explains at

Anne Verdaguer

’s microphone .  


Second point: we tried to replace this productivist approach by encouraging the farmer, through financial support, to move towards the preservation of nature and the improvement of biodiversity.

And now, in France, we are trying to do exactly the opposite.

We authorize farmers to no longer fallow and in addition, we return to the floor price system.

We're walking on our heads again!

 », Launches the economist. 

Read alsoAgricultural Show: in Drôme, the anger of organic farmers


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