How the Senate revisited crop insurance reform

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After its adoption by the Assembly on January 12, the text reforming crop insurance was in the hands of senators. On Wednesday February 16, a joint joint committee validated almost all the amendments made by the upper house.

“If it hadn’t been for the frost in the spring of 2021, we wouldn’t be talking to each other today.” Thursday, February 17, the day after the agreement reached in a joint committee (seven deputies and seven senators) on the reform of crop insurance, the Aude socialist senator Sébastien Pla recalled the role of trigger of the terrible episode of the night of 7 to April 8, 2021. The limits of the two-headed system, between the insurance scheme and the national agricultural risk management fund (FNGRA), had been pointed out for years. The 2021 frost will therefore have been a “unfortunate opportunity”seized to reform a system “unfair, out of breath”. A feeling that the chosen one illustrates by the disarray of the profession, almost a year after the episode: “We end up with operators who will not be compensated.” Between repetition of climatic episodes and low use of multi-risk climatic contracts (18.2% of French farms covered in 2020), the time had come to rethink the system. A principle laid down in the bill “reforming the tools for managing climate risks in agriculture”, adopted at first reading by the Assembly on January 12, 2022, with a “risk sharing architecture” : depending on the threshold of losses suffered, the burden fell to the operator, to the insurance companies, or finally to the State. But as of January 26, with the work of the Economic Affairs Committee, the Senate had pointed out limits: “This project remained vague, with intervention thresholds which should have been defined by ordinances, recalls Sébastien Pla. It was like signing a blank check to the government, without visibility or a specific framework. It was the easy solution for the Minister of Agriculture, whom I suspected of carrying a bill with the ambition that it be adopted before the Agricultural Show, thinking of the electoral deadlines. An observation which therefore led to this revisited project, in which the elected representative sees the translation of the “peasant common sense of senators”.

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