France has put forward a draft law to protect the future of agriculture and farming with a view to ensuring national food security.

The new regulation covers three main areas: simplifying the system to encourage environmental practises and penalties for violations; fostering education across agriculture; and investment in human resources.

It was presented yesterday (3 April) by Marc Fesneau, who heads up France’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, and is set to be debated by the National Assembly on 3 May.

“We must continue to put the productive and nourishing capacity of our farmers at the heart of our public policies,” Fesneau told the Council of Ministers.

“The objective of food sovereignty can only be achieved if we ensure generational renewal. We need a new generation, committed and trained to the challenges of climate change and agricultural transition.”

The bill revolves around agriculture, fishing and aquaculture, all of which “guarantee the food sovereignty” of France, according to a presentation statement.

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In terms of simplifying the framework, the statement added that “there cannot be food and agricultural sovereignty without simplification of the constraints and contradictory injunctions which weigh on the competitiveness of agriculture”.

The bill will therefore seek to clamp down on violations of France’s environmental laws, with appropriate “procedures and penalties” for violations.

It will also look to speed up the litigation process for new agricultural projects in order to give farmers “faster visibility” over environmental conformity.

Encouraging the planting of hedges will also be a feature in order to align agricultural production with “diodiversity”.

Training programmes will be introduced toward obtaining relevant degrees and diplomas for people seeking to enter the agricultural and agri-food sectors.

In support of that objective, the law will also seek to train more than 50,000 individuals and teaching professionals over three years in “favour of agroecological and climatic transitions”.

The third lever of the regulation revolves around ensuring the continuity of farms in terms of passing operations on to the next generations, along with support for persons seeking to set up farms or enter the profession.

As part of that objective, an agricultural land investment group will be set up with a view to “attract, in a controlled and secure manner, new capital for agriculture”, according to the statement.

“We must enable farmers to set up, sell or take over existing farms more easily by being better informed, accompanied and supported,” Fesneau said.

“We will reaffirm the strategic dimension of agriculture for our nation and will put in place the conditions for the exercise of agricultural activity which is not subject to contradictory injunctions or unnecessary normative constraints.”