Changes in French agriculture
French President François Hollande is making over the agricultural policy of the French government and is keen on directing the bulk of subsidies to smaller farms. A number of groups, in particular the big agricultural producers, are opposed to the reform, though.
Big ones can do more
A major part of Common Agricultural Policy resources for the development of French farming has been reaching farms with the largest acreage. The number of farms in France has been falling since the 1950′, from 2.3 million in 1955 to fewer than 500,000 at the beginning of 2013. Among the factors such transformation results from is the growth of the number of big operators in agricultural business. By increasing the acreage of farmland, they have placed France in the top five of biggest producers of cereals in the world.
Declarations concerning a reshuffle of agricultural subsidies policy were met with disapproval of many groups, including the largest French Association of Agricultural Producers – FNSEA. This is far from surprising, seeing that large enterprises constitute the driving force of French farming. The nation’s supremacy in Europe is clear with France having the largest acreage of cultivated land in European Union countries (over 15 million hectares), and the highest consumption of nitrogen fertilizers in EU (at 22%). The industry consumes 2.1 million tonnes of pure nitrogen per year, which makes French farming much more efficient.