14 October 1998
French government acts to preserve rural farmer

By FWi staff

FRANCE has set out new legislation for agriculture in an effort to fundamentally change the role of the French farmer, claims a report in todays Financial Times.

The new law aims to preserve rural communities by preventing the continual disappearance of small-holdings as they are eaten up by large producers.

The French government also want to make farmers more responsible for the local environment, while encouraging French producers to see their future in quality produce with a high added value.

It is proposed that farmers will soon receive subsidies in return for a commitment to respect the rural environment.

The state has also proposed to help guarantee minimum incomes for farmers and resolve the problem of funding pensions to the agricultural sector.

The move is viewed with hostility by “big” farming groups, but is broadly supported by small holders who stand to gain most .

The Financial Times views the initiative as a means defending French farmers against the potential loss of European Union subsidies which would undermine the countrys agricultural surplus of FF69 billion (£7 billion).

France is expected to accept a reduction in farm subsidies if it is allowed to redirect the money into environmental protection and the rural economy.

  • Financial Times 14/10/98 page VI (Survey on France)