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Annual €12m boost for organic food

'A new start' for environmental improvements to France's agriculture, says minister.

An annual sum of €12million has been set aside to help farmers convert to organic production.

The money marks "a new start" according to the Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier.

He said the money would be "an immediate and concrete" signal of the government's positive approach to organic foods - known in France as bio foods.

The move follows the government's promise in the Grenelle de l'environnement to triple the surface area of organic production by 2012.

Currently France has just 12,000 organic farms covering 560,000 hectares. It is Europe's largest consumer of pesticides.

By 2012 the government hopes it will have increased organic farms from 2% of overall farming to 6%.

For the last five years the turnover in the organic sector has risen 10% annually as the products rise in popularity with the French population.

According to the Agence Bio the industry was worth two billion euros in 2007.

Photo: Flickr/Shareski

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