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Innovation Key For French Agriculture

18 November 2011

FRANCE - The agriculture outlook is distorted, said Xavier Beulin, President of the French farming union, FNSEA.

Speaking at the Agriculture and Innovation Symposium in France earlier this week, he said farmers are constantly being challenged by the public, whether it be over water management, the use of pesticides or genetically modified organisms (GMO).

"Society does not recognise the efforts farmers make to protect the environment."

Innovation and new technologies are key factors to French agricultural competitiveness. "Through this we can face the future challenges presented to us, most importantly feeding the increasing world population."

Mr Beulin said that despite the G20 focusing heavily on increased food production, so far the EU has failed to see the importance of this.

"The proposed Common Agricultural Policy Reforms (CAP) focuses more on greening elements than the necessary development of production."

Despite this he said that French agriculture had a comparative advantage. "For example, France is the first country in the world in terms of wheat productivity with 9 tonnes per hectare."

Mr Beulin said that only innovation would allow France to remain at the top of the game. "One of our advantages is that we don't have to deal with annual variations in production due to temperature changes," he said, noting that Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina and the US have problems with this.

Innovation includes breeding, biotechnology, fertilisation and plant protection, the use of new molecules and precision farming.

Everyone at the conference agreed that more emphasis is needed in reconnecting the consumer with the farmer, to increase trust and understanding.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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