France: future agriculture policy revealed
On a farm in Brittany, French president Nicolas Sarkozy gave brief outlines of the French agriculture policy from 2013.
In 2013, the new European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will come into force. Sarkozy is aiming at French rural development towards mixed farms – crops and livestock - which are self sufficient in proteins and less dependent on imported (GM) soybeans for animal feed.
Being aware of the fact that he has to restore his image with the French farmers Sarkozy announced four main paths to follow:
1. Prepare for 2013
A bill to modernise the agriculture and food to prepare for the CAP 2013, which must be filed by the end of the year. Its aim: to create awareness in France of the future CAP before talking big money with European partners. The overall budget of the CAP amounted to €53 billion; 17% of this allocation goes to French farming, who is the primary beneficiary, but also the largest producer in Europe. Sarkozy would like to review the criteria for allocating aid.
2. Agriculture budget
The second announcement is budgetary. It responds to a request by the leader of the farmers organisation FNSEA, Jean-Michel Lemétayer. The state in 2010 will redistribute the agriculture budget commitments that are planned to be canceled under the RGPP (general review of public policies), i.e. almost €300 million. It will implement most measures of the CAP health check agreed under the French presidency last November: enhanced support livestock in grassland areas and upgrading the compensation for farming in mountain areas.
3. Experts on market volatility
The third presidential commitment is the creation of a group of international experts who will focus on measures to limit the impact of market volatility of agricultural raw materials through better governance. Sarkozy will propose this initiative to its partners at the upcoming G8-meeting.
4. Environmental challenges
Finally, the fourth point refers to the plan 'Objectif terre 2020'. It encompasses ten environmental challenges that must comply to in the next decade regarding water quality, use of pesticides and increasing of the grass land area.
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