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Content of the draft agriculture law presented to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday

The much-awaited draft law on agriculture, which emphasizes “food sovereignty” and the “renewal of generations,” is set to be discussed at the Council of Ministers for adoption in the summer. This article has been revised after the agricultural crisis to address farmers’ demands, who have been critical of red tape and certain environmental standards. The political journey leading up to this moment has been tumultuous, with Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announcing over 400 million euros in emergency aid and opening discussions on 67 “commitments” with farmers to emphasize the importance of agriculture.

The new law recognizes agriculture and fishing as being of “major general interest” alongside aquaculture, a designation intended to guide decisions on agricultural projects and disputes, ensuring that public policies contribute to enhancing food security without burdening farmers. This move aims to strengthen France’s food sovereignty while maintaining its export markets for products like cereals, wines, and dairy.

The bill also addresses the challenges of attracting new workers to the agricultural sector, as well as adapting production systems to climate change. It includes the creation of a new agro bachelor diploma and a national network for agricultural services to support new installations. Furthermore, it allows for the formation of agricultural land investment groups to facilitate access to land for new farmers.

The government has committed to reducing procedural delays in cases of litigation related to irrigation projects and livestock buildings. In cases of environmental damage, the text proposes replacing criminal sanctions with administrative penalties to encourage ecological restoration rather than punitive measures. Additionally, efforts will be made to simplify regulations regarding the planting and preservation of hedges to promote biodiversity and environmental protection.

Overall, the draft law aims to address key issues facing the agricultural sector in France, such as generational renewal, climate change adaptation, and regulatory simplification. While some agricultural unions have expressed support for this bill’s ambitious goals, others have expressed concerns about its potential impact on food sovereignty. As the bill moves through Parliamentary debates are likely underway before it is finally adopted.

In conclusion, this draft orientation law on agriculture is crucial in addressing key issues facing French farmers today such as generational renewal, climate change adaptation

By Samantha Jones

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