Sarkozy announces one billion euros aid to drought-hit farmers
President Nicolas Sarkozy promised a billion euros of aid to French farmers struggling with drought caused by the hottest spring since 1900. The worst drought since 1970 is pushing farmers into debt unless they slaughter their livestock.
Livestock producers have had to buy hay to feed their animals and some feed is to be imported.
Sarkozy’s drought aid plan includes loan deferrals and tax exemptions to livestock farmers. They will not have to pay back loans for a year, and will not have to pay property taxes this year.
Military installations will be used to stock feed and the agriculture ministry is to meet with the state-owned rail company, the SNCF, to organise transport of supplies.
That will cost the state about a billion euros, according to Prime Minister François Fillon.
Royal, who says she was not invited, showed up at the round-table discussion where the announcement was made and insisted on taking part in the discussion.
Royal was booed by some of the audience but both she and Sarkozy said that crises like the drought should transcend political differences.
Hit by the drought: