Monday, January 30, in the evening, the Agglomeration of La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime) will attempt an unprecedented exercise: bring together farmers, residents, elected officials and association members as part of a vast mediation organized at the Espace Encan, around pesticides .
Marked by cases of unexplained pediatric cancers and repeated pollution with prosulfocarb or even chlortoluron, the territory has experienced in recent months a wind of panic and a real distrust of so-called phytosanitary products.
The Agglomeration has since been trying to put out the fire and sketch out a “living together” in the plain of Aunis where some of the most fertile land in Europe is located, at the gates of La Rochelle.
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Funded 100% by the community, this meditation was entrusted to the Maison de la communication, a service provider in La Rochelle.
Nearly a hundred participants were recruited, including around forty local residents and as many farmers living in the communes of Bourgneuf, Clavette, Montroy, Périgny and Saint-Rogatien.
Supervised by mediators, 12 local elected officials and 12 members of the Avenir Santé Environnement association, committed since 2018 against pesticides, will also participate in these discussions.
“We want to create the conditions for a dialogue.
The objective of this meditation is for people to get to know each other”, sums up Marc Maigné, the elected official responsible for environmental health policies on behalf of the La Rochelle Agglomeration.
Many expectations on each side
Ambitious, the operation could quickly come up against everyone's positions.
"We will not force farmers to do without authorized products, it is not within the capacity of the Chamber of Agriculture", warns Cédric Tranquard, its Charente-Maritime president.
However, this farmer says he is open to discussion and will make proposals during this mediation: "People expect a lot, and I understand them, both among local residents and among farmers who are tired of being shown the finger ".
Spokesperson for the Avenir Santé Environnement association, Franck Rinchet-Girollet hopes to lay the groundwork for a "real agricultural transition for an exit from synthetic pesticides" and is counting on "citizen pressure" to impose this theme.
“We will not negotiate the number of pesticides in the air,” he insists.
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This mediation could lead to new measures, says Marc Maigné, emphasizing “the dynamics” of the Agglomeration.
The elected official thus wishes to “reduce the exposure of local residents as much as possible” and even pleads for “an ideal objective: to get out of pesticides”.
This wish will be “progressive”, he corrects from the outset, recalling that the La Rochelle community cannot impose it on its own.
"It will take several years, in connection with a national and international framework, but the will displayed is firm", he underlines.
Following this first mediation, a second meeting will be organized in March between farmers and local residents.
The restitution of this operation and any announcements will take place “in the months that follow”.