Farmers, at the forefront of climate hazards


“It’s too expensive,” “it doesn’t cover all my losses” in force debut 2023.

Climate accidents are becoming more violent and frequent, and yet only 30% of grain growers, 20% of wine growers and less than 5% of arboriculturists are insured, according to the FNSEA. (© Olivier Coste / Twitter)

Unot chopped vines, wheat folded by hailstones the size of ping pong balls: after a new climate episode of extreme violence last Saturday, some farmers lost their jobs for a year in a matter of minutes.

corpse climate accident – Drought, frost or hail – are becoming more violent and frequent, and yet only 30% of cereal growers, 20% of wine growers and less than 5% of arboriculturists are insured, according to the majority union, FNSEA.

Why so few policyholders?

Currently two additional devices apply: the agricultural calamity regime and the insurance regime. The public calamity regime, in force since the 1960s and co-financed with the state and the profession, may decline after a severe climate episode. But it excludes certain parts of agriculture (viticulture and large crops) and its compensation periods are considered too slow.

“To benefit from the calamity, you must justify 30% loss of production and at least an equivalent loss of gross operating income, calculated on the entire operation: which is very complicated when you have multiple activities and cultures affected differently, ”explained Joël Limouzin, in charge of emergencies at the FNSEA.

As for the insurance system, private but subsidized 65% by the state, it is still little underwritten for farmers. It is considered “too expensive” in view of the potential loss coverage, which is considered too low.

“The insurance taken out by a winemaker from Gascony, hit by hail this weekend, has guaranteed 40 hectoliters per hectare, for an estimated production of 90 it is very low,” said Jérôme Despey, secretary general of the FNSEA.

What does the reform provide for?

“It simply came to our notice then crop insurance lawoperational in 2023, will allow more farmers to make sure to better meet their needs, with an additional € 300 million in national solidarity per year, ”doubles the budget, said Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau , at the bedside of Girondins and Gers winegrowers in recent days.

Faced with a system unanimously considered “out of breath”, Parliament adopted a reform of crop insurance, which will enter into force on 1 er January 2023.

This text replaces the two current devices, and creates “a universal compensation scheme On three floors: the first level belongs to the farmer, who alone will bear the losses up to a deductible threshold (set at 20%); a second tier is for the private insurer (up to 50%, with a large part of the subscriptions covered by the Common Agricultural Policy), and a third tier, which mobilizes national solidarity, with public funds to respond to disaster situations.

A one-stop shop is created to simplify the process. And the text provides for the creation of a pool of insurers. It is mandatory to support insurers in the sector, which allows the sharing of data and one risk sharingto establish the fairest possible insurance premium.

Immediate action

This device is approved by the FNSEA, but with a size reserve. In fact, the allowances will be calculated on the basis of the ‘Olympic average’, ie the operating yield of the last five years. However, the succession of the calamities has lowered the prices in charge “, explains Jérôme Despey.

“We call on the government to review this ‘Olympic average’ system, which needs to be changed at Community level. Failure to do so will result in a loss of much of the benefits of the current reform, ”he said.

In the face of the new insurance in force, Marc Fesneau is committed to working on state-guaranteed loans (PGE) ”, which must be extended, and promised“ case by case ”to take into account all situations, with or without insurance. The FNSEA is calling for an effort with a lower property taxes and social security contributionsto get out of this “nightmare”.

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