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Slight recovery for farm incomes

Average pay has doubled from disastrous 2009 figures - but there are big disparities and a quarter of farms make a loss

FARMERS' average income has doubled in the past year, according to official new figures which reveal large disparities from one sector to the next.

The statistics from the French agriculture ministry, which are based on data from 317,000 farms around France, show the average farmer made €24,300 gross last year.

This is up from €11,200 in 2009, the first sign of a recovery after a disastrous few years for an industry faced with tumbling market rates for milk, meat and cereals.

However the long-term trend remains downward - the figure is a 12% decline on that achieved in 2007. A quarter of the farms surveyed this year made a loss.

Cereal farmers performed the best, with an average income of €39,900. Dairy farmers averaged €21,300 and livestock farmers €15,200. Wine producers typically made €14,300.

The study found that producers were delaying decisions to invest in new machinery, which risks having a negative impact on their future performance.

This year has already proved difficult for farmers because of the drought.

France's network of Chambres d'Agriculture wants the government to exercise more control over wholesale prices and offer better incentives for farmers to raise livestock.

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