Farm organisations in France have recently had farmers protesting the policies of the French government in relation to issues on glyphosate and fallow land.

The action these organisations have taken during their protests include turning signposts in various regions upside down, and placing them on piles of manure provided by French farmers in streets around France.

Arnaud Rousseau, president of the National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions (FNSEA), and Arnaud Gaillot, president of Young Farmers, or Jeunes Agriculteurs (JA), led their organisations in the protests with the aim to demand visibility and consistency from Marc Fesneau, Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty.

In a joint statement, the leaders of both organisations spoke on the issue of glyphosate and said that France “must clarify its vision of the agricultural future and make its real intentions clear”.

They are also protesting the inability of the French government which “has not yet been able to convince the European Commission” on it’s call for flexibility in the 4% fallow land derogation.

Their statement continued: “For several weeks, French farmers have been expressing their anger throughout France in the face of normative and fiscal inconsistencies, in the face of the absence of a clear and structuring vision for French agriculture.

“More than 100 FNSEA and JA departmental federations have carried out union actions so that the government takes concrete and immediate action.

“The time is no longer for discussion, it is time for commitments with immediate effect.”

The leaders of the organisations said that the mobilisations would “remain complete as long as the government does not provide French agriculture with all the means allowing it to be fully involved in the food, energy and environmental issues of the future”.

French scheme funding

Meanwhile, the European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €500 million French scheme to support investments in holding companies active in agricultural primary production. 

The scheme aims to boost the competitiveness and resilience of the agricultural sector and will be open to:

  • Small and medium agricultural holding companies;
  • Large hatcheries that will make investments aimed, in particular, at improving animal welfare;
  • Local and regional authorities engaged in economic activity in primary agricultural production. 

Commissioner Didier Reynders, who is in charge of competition policy, said the scheme “is important to ensure long-term food security.

“At the same time, the measure will ensure environmental protection, animal welfare and climate action,” he added.