Peasant Suicide: Proposals to End this Scourge for Good?

The essential two senators presented a report containing 63 proposals for combating suicides in agriculture. In 2015 alone, 605 cases were identified in France. The authors of the report urge the state to establish real public order.

Farmers who are at the bottom of the list in debt, who have not had a decent income or vacation for a long time … Farmers’ suicide is often still taboo and a real social problem on our land. After a year of meetings with actors from the agricultural world, farmers in difficulty and relatives of victims, Senator RDSE by Hérault Henri Cabanel and Senator Union-Centrist de la Marne Françoise Férat presented their report in which they made 63 proposals. The following is a report by LREM MP for Lot-et-Garonne Olivier Damaisin, presented to the government in December.

Read also: Suicide in Agriculture: The Lot-et-Garonne MP’s report was presented to the Prime Minister this Tuesday

A proven risk of suicide

No fewer than 605 farmers committed suicide in 2015 among those insured under the agricultural welfare system. Or about two suicides a day. This is the last official number. In 2010, the suicide death rate in agriculture was 20% higher than the general population. Agricultural suicides have been in the statistics since at least the 1970s.

The economic question at the heart of the law

The economic question and indebtedness are the factors most cited in the statements gathered by the senators. Other reasons are cited, such as feelings of disparagement, isolation, complex family relationships, overwork, or lack of appreciation. Bad personal or professional news is often a trigger.

Read also: Suicide Among Peasants: When Life Hangs by a Thread

What does the report recommend?

Farmers need to be able to live on a decent income and retirement. The report recommends that emergency aid be provided in the event of economic difficulties and unusually low incomes. The RSA must become a tool to help farms in difficulty. The Senators propose promoting investment aid to buy small equipment or to reduce the difficulty of certain agricultural tasks, but also to simplify administrative procedures and declarations.

In order to better identify farmers in difficulty, the report suggests increasing the number of guards: technicians from the Chamber of Agriculture, veterinarians, elected representatives on site, postman or gendarme, who identify distress signals and report them to a speaker from the Farmers Department Difficulties “could report. “.

The report wants more humanity in the support procedures for farmers: direct contact in letters from the MSA, visiting the farm in the event of late payment or signing a deed of credit.

The report introduces the idea of ​​consolidating replacement support. A farmer who has to breathe or stop for health reasons or after an accident must be able to be replaced on his farm.

Senators also want better support for bereaved farming families.

How is the agricultural world reacting?

For Luc Smessaert, Vice President of the FNSEA, “it is important to be concerned about this discomfort. Having many actors addressing the problem is an important step forward. The first problem is an agricultural income problem. We.” You are in a country where those who feed you are not paid if you work 60/70 hours a week. It must be possible to translate the report into very concrete things quickly. “

For Philippe Grégoire, co-president of Samu Social Agricole, this report “will not change anything”. “We are economically weakened. Our margins are captured by our cooperatives and our buyers. There are two main players who put pressure on us when there are unpaid bills: the banking network and social reciprocity in agriculture. And that is exactly what drives people to.” Suicide.” . The solutions to be implemented for Philippe Grégoire: “Exit agriculture from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and impose recognition of production costs. It is a problem of the distribution of added value.”

What will the government do?

Henri Cabanel, Senator from Hérault, believes he has “made proposals to help farms in difficulty that many would not receive if discovered upstream. Agricultural income, we will not fix it with this report.” We want to improve things. ”The report’s authors urge“ the state to play its role. ”The document will be handed over to Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie on Wednesday March 24th. According to the report’s authors, there are many measures that are being taken can be implemented quickly.

Agri’Ecoute, the listening number for Mutualité sociale Agricole, can be reached 7 days a week around the clock on 0 969 39 29 19. There were 4,000 calls in 2020.

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