In France, Agro-Ecology has officially made its way into French law, seeking to combine economic, environmental and social performance, reduce the consumption of energy, water, fertilizer, pesticides and veterinary medicine, and to work with natural mechanisms instead of against them.The incorporation of Agro-Ecology into law took over two years and required the laying of a solid foundation in the form of ambitious agricultural reform projects. The campaign entitled “Year One of Agro-Ecology” celebrates the assembly of Agro-Ecology’s legal foundation and marks the beginning of what promises to be a proliferation of new and improved agricultural practices. The European Union’s reformed Common Agricultural Policy and the announcement of the Loi d’Avenir (The “Future Law”) reaffirm that the desired objectives of Agro-Ecology are and will continue to be reflected in the French legal system.
The “Year One of Agro-Ecology” campaign contains the following seven plans that address agricultural reform in a variety of important sectors:
- A simplified, amplified and more widespread Ecophyto Plan.
- Greater reduction in the use of antibiotics in farmed animals through the Eco-Antibio plan.
- The plan for Seeds and Sustainable Agriculture
- The Auto Nitrogen Fixation Energy Plan
- The 2017 Organic Ambition Plan
- The Plant Protein Plan
The long-term success of this campaign relies on several key elements. First and foremost, financial means must be strengthened in order to sustain the program. This will be achieved through ramped up pollution taxes and through collaboration on program implementation between the Ministries of Agriculture and Sustainable Development. The second element calls for action to update current agricultural practices to orient agricultural development in the right direction by: encouraging crop diversification and organics, supplying new equipment to farmers, and promoting educational schemes at the local level. Next, the Ministry of Agriculture is working to evaluate and manage the risks and impacts of inputs such as pesticides in an effort to accelerate the removal of noxious substances. And finally, France must promote the adoption of these campaign objectives among industry workers and in the communities. This would involve, for example, making resources available that are specific to the national, regional, or industrial levels, constructing an Agro-Ecology plan for overseas territories, or the creation of a new risk coverage mechanism for all farmers having adopted new techniques.