French horticultural sector to receive €200m government aid

The French government has announced a €200 million fund to increase the production and consumption of domestic fruit and vegetables.

Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau outlined the 'sovereignty plan' at France's largest agricultural event, the Salon de l'Agriculture, on 2 March. Approximately half of fruit and vegetables consumed in France are grown there, a figure that the French government seeks to boost.

Mr. Fesneau said at the event: "When it comes to fruit and vegetables, we have had a loss of sovereignty across all parts of this market." The French government said it would provide €200 million toward the scheme, with €300m open to private investors looking to boost the agri-food sector.

The fund will provide development capital to small- and medium-sized agricultural businesses, such as boosting automation and increasing competitiveness. It comes as British horticultural businesses continue to struggle with unprecedented inflationary pressures, most notably on energy and labor costs.

In response, more than 35,000 people have signed up for the NFU's food security campaign as supermarket shelves in the UK lie empty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The campaign seeks to galvanize public support behind the idea that supermarket shelves should never be empty of any food that can be produced by UK farmers.

The NFU has also unveiled its new strategy to boost UK horticulture, which calls for growers to have better access to crop protection, access to water, and more government investment to spur on productivity.

Source: Farming UK

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