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As long as they pay for it

Posted by Helen Friday, March 09, 2007 ,

Farmers Weekly is getting a little agitated. It seems that at the Paris International Agri-Business Show, "industry leaders" made it quite clear that there will be no end to government subsidy for French agriculture.

Unlike, says the article huffily, the British Government, which is planning to phase out support payments after 2013, the French are prepared to go on financing their farmers.

Emmanuel Lachaize, vice president of the young farmers' movement Jeunes Agricultures is blunt about the need for support. "We have to be realistic, if we stop PAC (CAP) payments we will lose half of the farmers because agriculture is not sustainable without support."

Jean-Paul Papillon, economics chief of French agriculture machinery manufacturers association SYGMA agrees. "Without support payments many thousands of farmers would disappear and with them many more jobs," said Mr Papillon. He estimated the number of French farms at 585,000 which supported up to three times as many jobs in agriculture and the food sector.

Ending government support to farmers would be unthinkable, according to the French farmers' union FRSEA. "France will never agree to end income support to its farmers," said Michel Masson, FRSEA president of the central region.
So much for that supposed reform of the CAP and opening up of trade with Third World countries, whose welfare the EU allegedly worries about constantly.

It is, after all, unclear from all those comments, whether the French famers' leaders envisage "government support" from their own taxpayers or from the taxpayers across the EU's member states. Farmers Weekly may not see this but they are two different sources and are likely to have different effects in France.

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