Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

754 French farmers to receive €40.2m for environmental services

Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, November 16th 2021 à 17:05 | Read 446 times

Erosion of the banks of the Arc river (photo: Saba)
Erosion of the banks of the Arc river (photo: Saba)
FRANCE. As part of a call for initiatives to test the implementation of payments for environmental services, the Rhône Méditerranée Corse Water Agency will finance twenty-one territorial projects. Supported by local authorities and covering nearly 68,000 hectares of useful agricultural area, they focus on improving the quality of drinking water and restoring biodiversity.

The Agency will pay €40.2 million over five years to the 754 farmers mobilised to implement these actions. It will also devote €5.1 million to support the local authorities concerned in steering and leading these projects.

This aid will make it possible, for example, to "create and maintain agro-ecological infrastructures such as hedges, grassy strips, riparian zones (editor's note: wooded formations on the banks of watercourses), wetlands or ponds, or to develop virtuous agronomic practices that limit the use of mineral fertilisers or pesticides (crop rotation, soil cover)", as stated in a press release published on Monday, November 15, 2021, by the Rhone-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency.

"A virtuous economic system"

"We have noted a real enthusiasm on the part of the local authorities carrying out this experiment, which enables them to progress on their environmental objectives, accompanied for this by very incentive aid", comments Laurent Roy. However, the Agency's director general points out that this is "a virtuous economic system, but this system remains an experiment and the water agency will not have the means to extend it, on its own, beyond five years, without guidance from the CAP (Editor's note: Common Agricultural Policy) to continue along this path. In any case, working on the agricultural sectors in order to promote the production of virtuous farmers is an avenue to be explored further".

Among the projects selected is one to restore the quality of the waters of the Arc Provençal (which flows into the Etang de Berre near Marseille) and biodiversity, led by the Syndicat intercommunal d'aménagement du bassin de l'Arc (€231,000 in aid) and thirty-two farmers (€822,500 in compensation). Or the project carried out by the RéSeau11 joint union to protect the feeding areas of water catchments classified as priority due to pollution by pesticides or nitrates of agricultural origin (Maquens intake in Carcassonne, Darre l'Hort catchment in La Redorte, Gayraud well in Villemoustaussou and Lagarrigue well in Labécède-Lauragais). The objective is to reduce the pressure of pollution by phytosanitary products on the 97% of the total useful agricultural area of this perimeter covering 2010 hectares. The fifty-three farmers involved in this project will receive €1.8 million in aid and RéSeau11 will receive €329,900 for steering the process.

See the map of the 21 selected projects


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