20 June 2001
French row over royalties
By the Crops Team
FRENCH growers are protesting against plans to bring in royalties on farm-saved seed.
Collected by storage co-operatives, it will be applied in the form of a levy of FF3.30 per tonne (0.31) on an individual growers whole cereal tonnage.
The protest occurred at Les Culturales, the French cereals event held near Paris recently.
Claude Sambourg and Jean Michel Opoix were among growers who donned sandwich boards to draw attention to what they feel is an unfair tax by the co-ops.
“They say it will be voluntary, but it will be very difficult to get a good price for your wheat if you refuse to pay,” said Mr Opoix.
Less than half the seed used by French growers is certified, compared to 65-70% of that used by UK growers.
Rising fertiliser prices have already hit French agriculture, but growers are soon to suffer a fertiliser tax.
Following on from the pesticide tax imposed last year, the new levy is to be paid by the supplier, but calculated on a farm basis depending on how much fertiliser the farm is allowed.
The French working week is to be reduced to 35 hours maximum. The limit on overtime will lead to redundancies, say farm workers and their employers.
- For more on Les Culturales, see the four-page report in Crops, 23 June, 2001 issue.
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