Organic farming in France grows 6pct in 2003

4th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 4 (AFP) - Land area devoted to organic farming in France grew by six percent last year after a big spurt in 2002, although "green" growing remains a very small part of the nation's agriculture, according to figures released here Thursday.

PARIS, March 4 (AFP) - Land area devoted to organic farming in France grew by six percent last year after a big spurt in 2002, although "green" growing remains a very small part of the nation's agriculture, according to figures released here Thursday.

At the end of 2003, a total of 550,000 hectares (1.375 million acres) of land were used for organic farming, a term that covers certified areas for growing crops and animal feed where farmers do not use chemical fertilisers, weedkillers or pesticides.

The tally at the end of 2002 was 518,000 hectares (1.295 million acres), an increase of 21 percent over 2001.

Less than two percent of the cultivated area of France is used for organic growing. The number of organic farms is 11,377, compared to 11,288 at the end of 2002.

The organic agriculture association, which released the figures at the annual farm show in Paris, said the relative downturn between 2003 and 2002 was caused by months-long delays in implementing a new subsidy scheme aimed at encouraging farmers to go organic.

France had 113,000 "green" cows in 2003, an increase of around six percent, while organically-farmed sheep totalled 116,000, also up six percent on the previous year.

France is the biggest food producer in Europe but ranks only 13th in organic farming, a position that the government hopes to improve under an incentive scheme unveiled last month.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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