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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Chirac pushes for biofuel farming
President Jacques Chirac
President Chirac called agriculture "Europe's vocation"
French President Jacques Chirac has called on the EU to plan for future agriculture based on non-food farming.

Speaking on Thursday at an agricultural conference in central France, Mr Chirac said crops should be used to produce vegetable-based fuels and chemicals.

He set a target of 10% of French fuel production to come from vegetables by 2015, while stressing the central role of agriculture for France.

But he rejected any overhaul of the EU Common Agricultural Policy before 2013.

Defending subsidies

Mr Chirac presented his vision to farmers in Cournon d' Auvergne, saying agriculture must remain "at the heart of European ambition".

Describing agriculture as "Europe's vocation", he urged European farmers to begin planning for a future that will include the "non-food use dimension of farming products".

Advances in technology mean that food crops can be used to produce biodegradable bags and bio-fuels.

Mr Chirac said EU subsidies for farmers should not be changed until 2013, when the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is scheduled for review.

Looking beyond 2013, he said "the new CAP must maintain community preference and public aid for the social and environmental aspects of agriculture".

France is a major recipient of CAP funds and has a history of robustly defending subsidies for farmers.

That position puts France sharply at odds with the British government, which wants a thorough reform of the CAP.

Biofuels 'will not lead to hunger'
05 Oct 06 |  Science/Nature
Q&A: Common Agricultural Policy
02 Dec 05 |  Europe
UK boost for biomass fuel crops
19 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature

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