21 January 2000

French input tax by spring

INPUT taxes will be levied on pesticides used by French farmers this spring, following political agreement late last year.

"Although the rate will be small to start with the precedent has been set politically and it could be raised in future," says Luc Lescar of French farmer-funded research organisation ITCF.

The tax will be levied on manufacturers according to the tonnage of pesticide produced and passed on to farmers in the product price. Although products are grouped according to perceived environmental impact, in many cases groupings are not as they should be, he adds.

"It seems this marks a turning point for farming, which once had a strong say in French politics. Now the environment seems more important. It is not a good development for other countries which are resisting a tax either," he notes.