The European Commission today (2 December) approved a plan that will see the French government provide aid to its struggling farmers.

The French scheme, with an approximate budget of EUR700m (US$1.05bn), provides grants of up to EUR15,000 for farmers who are facing financial difficulties due to the economic crisis.

Aid under this new scheme can be granted until 31 December 2010 and will take the form of direct grants, interest rate subsidies, subsidised loans and help with the payment of social security contributions.

The French scheme is open to farmers in all sub-sectors of primary agricultural production, provided they were not already in difficulty on 1 July 2008.