17 December 2015
Release of the French National Plan for the Development of Agroforestry
The French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, released the French National Plan for the Development of Agroforestry in Paris on 17 December 2015. The event was attended by more than 200 people including delegates of farmers unions, research institutes, and farming and forestry extension agencies. The plan includes all forms of agroforestry: trees inside and around fields, in arable and grazing systems, isolated trees, aligned trees, hedges, and alley-cropping and silvopastoral systems.
Christian Dupraz, who is leading the research being undertaken at INRA in the AGFORWARD project, explains that the Minister was keen to present the plan in person. The minister indicated that agroforestry is a key option within the “4/1000” initiative presented at the December 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21). The “4/1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate” seeks an annual increase in the soil carbon content of 0.4% per year, to address global greenhouse gases emissions. The minister insisted that it was essential that the relevant authorities implemented a national strategy to promote agroforestry.
The Plan will be managed, monitored and audited by a Steering Committee, to be established in early 2016. Leaders, partners, practical actions, milestones and deliverables will be detailed for each action. Although the national agroforestry plan initially covers the period 2015-2020, with an audit planned for 2020, the plan is a long term commitment.
Christian also note that during the meeting, it was confirmed that in France all hedges and all agroforestry plots with up to 100 trees per hectare are now fully eligible for basic payments under the first pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy.
The plan and the presentations at the meeting can be found on the web site of the French Ministry of Agriculture. An English translation of the key actions is provided below.
French National Plan for the Development of Agroforestry
The plan aims to stimulate the adoption of agroforestry practices in France (including overseas provinces). It is structured in five axes and 23 actions.
Axis 1 – Improve the knowledge about agroforestry systems and their functioning:
1.1. Increase the resources for research institutes to monitor agroforestry systems
1.2 Improve the co-ordination between research institutes, technical institutes, chambers of agriculture, extension bodies and national networks
1.3 Expand the themes of research and extension to new topics
1.4 Assess how agroforestry could be incorporated in the green and blue corridors
1.5 Create a network of reference agroforestry farms across France
Axis 2 – Improve the regulations for agroforestry and increase financial support:
2.1 Suggest new support schemes for agroforestry adoption
2.2 Help transfer of available toolkits at a regional level
2.3 Secure the relationship between land owners and land tenants regarding agroforestry systems
2.4 Favor agroforestry practices as environmental compensation measures
2.4 Explore how new incentives for agroforestry systems could result from adaptation of tax paying laws
Axis 3 – Stimulate extension services, education in agroforestry and promotion of agroforestry practices:
3.1. Bring back trees and hedges into education programs
3.2. Create a network of agroforestry extension officers at the national scale
3.3. Unify the French agroforestry associations
3.4. Produce textbooks and synthesis on agroforestry for education and promotion
3.5. Organize promotion events and campaigns for agroforestry adoption (including hedges)
Axis 4 – Improve the added value of agroforestry products:
4.1. Support the agri-food and wood industry to better value products and co-products of agroforestry systems
4.2. Take advantage of the “labels of quality” approach in promoting agroforestry products
4.3. Push for Sustainable Management Plans of agroforestry systems and promote the label of “sustainably produced agroforestry wood”
4.4. Develop a “local tree” seedling production and use strategy
Axis 5 – Promote agroforestry practices and systems at the international level:
5.1. Promote agroforestry at the European level
5.2. Promote agroforestry at the international level
5.3. Develop agroforestry research at European and international levels
5.4. Develop education exchange at European and international levels