France is to provide €400 million ($440.12 million) of aid to livestock farms that have been hard hit by the soaring cost of feed grain in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the government said.
Russia's invasion of fellow exporter Ukraine has disrupted shipments through the Black Sea, sending European grain prices to record highs and adding to feed costs that had already jumped during a commodities rally last year.
As part of a wider plan to help the French economy weather the effects of the conflict in Ukraine, the government will offer the aid over four months to livestock farms that have faced losses linked to the cost of feed, said Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie.
French producers of livestock feed had earlier asked the government to guarantee a certain volume of grain for their sector in the face of rising export demand linked to the invasion of Ukraine, in addition to financial support for livestock farms.
The government did not announce any measure to reserve supplies for the domestic market, with Denormandie saying that France faced no food shortages and had an export role to play, helping to feed countries hit by disruption to Ukrainian supplies.
Upturn In Export Demand
Traders say that France, the European Union's biggest grain producer and exporter, is among EU countries to have seen an upturn in export demand.
Speaking alongside prime minister Jean Castex and other ministers, Denormandie reiterated his support for a proposal being studied by the European Union to let farmers cultivate fallow land to boost production.
Regarding fertiliser, France has sufficient supplies for the spring growing season, but the government will develop a plan to ensure availability for the autumn, Denormandie said.
The conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia have led to higher prices and shorter supply of nitrogen fertiliser, a key nutrient for crop yields.
French farmers are also set to receive government support on fuel costs.