Food: States General “between two waters”

For two months, at the initiative of the President of the Republic, all actors in the food chain have been mobilized by the General Food States. At the heart of our debates: the remuneration of farmers. For agricultural cooperation, which brings together 2,600 cooperatives and three out of four farmers, our widely disseminated proposals can be summed up in a few words: economic organization, adaptation of production to consumer expectations, fair commercial practices.

On these themes, the debates of the States General remain between two waters while it is urgent to take clear measures and ensure that they are economically viable. Because, let us not forget, farmers are business leaders who produce in increasingly diverse and globalized markets.In this debate, it is important to remember that cooperative enterprises are the only place, within food chains, where the creation of value and its sharing are the subject of democratic decisions. This specificity is linked to the fact that our companies are not companies like the others. They enjoy a special status because they result from the collective will of farmers, on the one hand, to organize themselves economically to take their destiny in hand and on the other hand, to pass on to subsequent generations, under bearable conditions, the tools thus created.

A governance model

Co-operatives bring people together, not capital, on the principle of one man – one voice. This governance model is applied not only during the annual general assembly, but also throughout the year during technical meetings with members or section assemblies in the largest companies, i.e. several dozen meetings per year. which animate the daily life of a cooperative.

Agricultural cooperatives do not make profits for themselves, but aim to enhance the production of their members. Their result is partly placed in indivisible reserves and the rest distributed to the cooperative members, thus ensuring a balance between short-term imperatives and the objective of sustainability of the company, far from any speculative logic.

Compliance with these cooperative principles is subject to permanent controls which are imposed on all agricultural cooperatives: approval by the High Council for Agricultural Cooperation, regular control by the Agricultural Cooperative Revision which has been reinforced by the law on the economy. social and solidarity in 2014. 800 revisions have taken place since 2014, ie more than 90% of the turnover of agricultural cooperation.

Transparency commitments

To guarantee even more transparency, the Agricultural Cooperation has decided to strengthen its commitments: improvement of the use of mediation for agricultural cooperation with the establishment in particular of a toll-free number, systematization of the signing of commitment forms for new cooperative members, widespread application of Single Summary Documents in collection cooperatives, easier access to information by gradually generalizing the digital availability of documents, particularly on cooperative strategy, etc.

Convinced of the need to give farmers the economic weight they need to defend the improvement of their income, agricultural cooperation strongly claims the modernity of its model. For us, the Estates General are not only words, but also deeds!