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Starch potatoes: how does France quietly liquidate a sovereign agricultural sector?

Starch potatoes: how does France quietly liquidate a sovereign agricultural sector?

Febrero 07, 2023
Faced with an economic plunge in the potato starch sector, the UNPT calls on producers to mobilize on February 8 at the call of the FNSEA Grand Bassin Parisien to make their demands heard by the Government.

Will the deindustrialization and agricultural decline continue tirelessly?

This is the sad intuition that comes to the producers of starch potatoes who supply the last two French starch factories (in the Somme and the Marne) producing high purity starches intended to supply the food industry, pharmaceuticals (composition of Doliprane, Advil, etc.), cosmetics (lipsticks), paper, etc.

While the "starch" sector is struggling to recover from a post-Covid crisis where world starch prices have collapsed, the sector is now bearing the brunt of a climate crisis which is having a very strong impact on national yields, causing them to plummet. 2022 at 39.5 tons per hectare; the lowest yield ever recorded.

Result: production is down 28% in one year and producers are legitimately wondering about the future of production in France. While crop areas have already fallen by 12% in 2022, 2023 will usher in a further drop of around 15% with 2,500 hectares less!

Less crop area and lower yields mean less volume for the two French processing plants processing starch potatoes, which are directly threatened with closure by this stalling of crop area while their industrial profitability has already been weakened for years.

Faced with the plunge of an entire sector, which nevertheless contributes positively to their trade balance to the tune of EUR 60 million (USD 64 million) per year, the UNPT continues to alert the public authorities to the seriousness of the situation for their food and industrial sovereignty.

After the hope born of the meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, last September 2, to revalue the coupled "starch" aid up to EUR 500 (USD 534) per hectare instead of EUR 80 (USD 85) currently, in order to exceptionally encourage producers to maintain their surfaces (ie EUR 10 million (USD 10.6 million) out of a CAP budget of 11 billion (USD 11.7 billion!)), the observation after 6 months is bitter: rejection of all the proposals made by producers to maintain crop area via direct aid.

Like the sugar beet sector which is in great danger, starch producers find themselves up against the wall in the face of the indifference of Government, which is leading the country towards a dependence on foreign starch.

To express the anger of the starch sector, the UNPT calls on all potato producers to join the national demonstration launched at the initiative of the FNSEA Grand Bassin Parisien on February 8 in Paris.

The UNPT will not resign itself to abandoning a sovereign agricultural sector and expects a response from the Government commensurate with the historic crisis that the national starch sector is going through.
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