France seeks to end dependence on food imports
The French government has launched a plan to promote autonomy in the agricultural sector given the increase in dependence on food imports. In this way, the French country hopedto recover the “sovereignty” lost in this area with a aid packagebut also with the desire 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 the fruits and vegetablesbut also with chicken meatis the result of a “competitiveness” problem that is partly explained because there are more regulations than in other countries.
Low competitiveness due to very restrictive domestic rules
“Let’s not make more rules”, stressed the minister in an interview with the Sud Radio station, in which he explained that very often France establishes a series of restrictive internal rulesfor example about the use of pesticides, and then wants them to be adopted by the European Union. “Let’s try not to be arrogant and not to impose a rule that our neighbors don’t want,” he said.
The plan for fruits and vegetables will have a 200 million package of euros of public money every year for ten, to which will be addedn another 200 million contributed by the sector. 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 head of the Interfel sectoral organization for fruit and vegetables, 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.
They will invest in cultivating in greenhouses
In the words of his Minister of Agriculture, “there is no reason that we have ten times less than the Spanish.” to that task 50 million euros will be dedicated of the total package. Another 50 million will go to the renovation and replanting of 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 the chicken meat imports, 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 – she added – to have high-end, mid-range and entry-level products.”