Thursday, March 30, 2023

France launches a plan to recover the lost “food sovereignty”

The French Government has launched, together with the agricultural sector, a plan to tackle the increase in dependence on food imports and recover the “sovereignty” lost in this field with a package of aid, but also with the will not to impose more regulations than in other European countries.

The Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, explained this Friday that this dependence on purchases abroad, which has increased particularly with fruits and vegetables, but also with chicken meat, is the result of a “competitiveness” problem that in part of it is explained because there are more rules than in other countries.

“Let’s not make more rules,” the minister stressed in an interview with the Sud Radio station, in which he explained that very often France establishes a series of restrictive internal rules, for example on the use of pesticides, and then wants them to be adopted. by the European Union.

“Let’s try not to be arrogant and not impose a rule that our neighbors don’t want,” he said.

The plan for fruit and vegetables will have a package of €200 million of public money every year for ten, to which another €200 million contributed by the sector will be added.

France now imports more than 60% of the fruit it consumes and around 40% of the vegetables, when in the year 2000 these percentages were around 45% and 30%.

According to the person in charge of the sectorial organization of fruit and vegetables Interfel, Laurent Grandin, “if nothing is done, in ten years we will not cover more than 35% of our needs”.

To correct this trend, the Executive wants to stimulate production, for example by developing crops in greenhouses.

In the words of his Minister of Agriculture, “there is no reason that we have ten times less than the Spanish”. €50 million of the total package will be dedicated to this task.

Another €50 million will go to renewing and replanting fruit trees, with special emphasis on varieties that are resistant to adverse weather conditions and that consume less water. €50 million are also foreseen for purchases of agricultural equipment that will reduce the use of pesticides.

Beyond the case of fruit and vegetables, Fesneau referred to imports of chicken meat, which represent about what is consumed in France.

He explained that French production works well in the high-quality niche, but “in entry-level products, we have a competitiveness problem.”

“We need -he added- to have high-end, mid-range and entry-level products”.


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