France seeks to “regain sovereignty” over livestock industry

In the wake of the large-scale farmers’ protests that rocked France earlier this year, the French government has announced a plan to strengthen the national livestock sector as well as the wider agricultural industry. 

On 25th February, France’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Marc Fesneau, unveiled his plans to better support those growing the nation’s crops as well as its livestock breeding sector. 

Fesneau hopes his plans will alleviate the fears of farmers who say that their livelihoods are in jeopardy due to cheaper imports and a growing number of regulations placed on the nation’s agricultural industry. 

The plans aim to bolster France’s ability to “produce what it consumes” in terms of crops and meat products, with a particular goal of meeting livestock sovereignty.  

“Breeding is essential in France and holds part of the solutions to the great challenges of our century,” reads a statement released by the Ministry. “The Government has decided to put breeding at the heart of its concerns by strengthening the plan to regain our sovereignty over breeding announced last October on the occasion of the 32nd Livestock Summit.” 

To that end, the government has enacted a €150 million benefits fund to support those raising cattle and has earmarked €400 million in guaranteed loans for the livestock sector, which will become available in July 2024.  

There will be €30 million available each year to support investment in agricultural equipment that contributes to significantly reducing greenhouse emissions and another packet of €15 million to strengthen the fight against tuberculosis and other diseases affecting livestock. 

The government is also publishing a decree to protect what can be designated as foods of animal origin, a requirement by restaurants to integrate 100% sustainable meat and fish products into menus, and to ask for an EU-level ban on synthetic meat, arguing that these cultivated products go against tradition and negatively impact livestock farming.  

Another element of the plans is to build interest in farming as a career choice and encourage generational farming within families.  

Finally, the mantra “produce what we consume” will be the battle cry henceforth, following the public confirmation of the Ministry’s mission to ensure food security and self-sufficiency in France, whilst continuing to improve standards and reach climate goals.  


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Photo source: Fabien Bazanegue, Unsplash