France Boosts Support for Organic Farming

Here’s news that will likely get lost in all of the hullabaloo over France’s rejection of the EU constitution:

France launched a national campaign to promote organic produce on Wednesday, kicking off 10 days of events to boost a sector that has struggled to make its mark in Europe’s agricultural powerhouse.

“We have to support this type of farming, which responds exactly to the demands of society,” Jean-Marie Aurand, senior official at France’s farm ministry, told a press conference.

“This is a growing market with great potential.”

After crises over mad cow disease, dioxin, foot-and-mouth and swine fever, and amid continued concerns over genetically modified crops (GMOs), organic farming has taken off over the past decade in Europe.

But in France, where some 540,000 hectares are devoted to organic production — almost two percent of total farmland — interest lags behind many countries in Europe and is in decline.

A lack of government incentives, high prices and the fact that much of France’s traditional farm output is less intensive than elsewhere have been put forward as reasons for this.

The French are taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, by offering a variety of incentives for organic farming. It’s good to see a country viewing a lack of organic agriculture as a problem…

From Reuters via Eco-Portal.

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