France has made the reinforcement of its agro-environmental and climate measures a priority in the E.U.-wide Common Agricultural Policy. These agro-environmental and climate measures consist of financial aid given to farms and other agricultural institutions that adopt or maintain certain practices that are designed to limit the negative effects of agricultural practices on the environment. This is designed to help make agriculture a tool in the fight against climate change and environmental damage, rather than a cause.
Their objective is to respond to environmental issues found at a local level, such as preserving water quality, biodiversity, soil health, and reducing the effects of and contribution of agriculture to climate change.
A practical example of an agro-environmental measure might include compensating farmers for maintaining bands of grassy areas along water flowing through agricultural areas, which help protect the water from pollution and serve as important biological corridors for wildlife. Other examples might include compensation for restoring or maintaining hedges, limiting the use of phytosanitary products, and implementing agroforestry as a part of a farmer’s agriculture plan.
On September 8th and 9th, The French Ministry of Agriculture convened a European seminar on these agro-environmental and climate measures and welcomed 22 international delegations in Paris. Roundtables and workshops were set up to encourage the sharing of experiences on creating measures that are favorable to the environment. Eventually, the idea is to create a network of European experts on these measures to sustain and enrich them in the future.
These measures were significantly modified for the Common Agricultural Policy that took effect in 2015. The new system now features three types of measures that can be used to help agriculture to improve the environment:
- New measures that respond to a logic system
- Measures aimed at local issues in areas where the issues are located
- Measured aimed at preserving genetic resources, such as protecting threatened plant and animal breeds and aid for beekeeping
Additionally, the total amount of aid dedicated for financing these measures is doubled for the 2014-2020 period in comparison with the previous CAP, reaching 180 million euros (around $201 million) annually.