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

The long-awaited draft orientation law on agriculture is set to be discussed at the Council of Ministers for adoption in the summer. This text 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 bill recognizes agriculture and fishing as being of “major general interest,” alongside aquaculture. This designation aims to guide decisions on agricultural projects and disputes, ensuring that public policies contribute to enhancing food security without burdening farmers. The goal is to strengthen France’s food sovereignty while maintaining its export markets for products like cereals, wines, and dairy.

One of the key aspects of the new law is addressing the challenges of attracting new workers to the agricultural sector and adapting production systems to climate change. It includes creating 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, others have raised concerns about its lack of ambition and impact on food sovereignty. As this bill moves through parliamentary debates and amendments are considered

By Sophia Gonzalez

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