FRANCE - French agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll was out on Friday visiting waterfowl farms affected by bird flu in the Gers and Landes departments.
France was affected by 77 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza since November last year, and put in place strict restrictions on movement of birds. The restrictions involve depopulation, a period without flocks, and restocking.
The restrictions affect 15 departments located in the south west of France, representing the main production areas of the fois gras industry.
During his visit, the minister met with professionals from both regions to exchange with them on the conditions of the fallow period and the progress of cleaning operations. He also visited one of the first farms allowed to resume activity.
Mr Le Foll said compensation arrangements for hatcheries would be finalised by the end of May in consultation with industry stakeholders, and the European Commission would be involved in its funding.
The minister recalled that, already, 20 million euros were reserved for them under the loss of income compensation. He also announced the postponement of the deadline for submission of dossiers to 31 October, to allow waterfowl to breeders benefit fully from the aid package to restructure their bank loans.
Stéphane Le Foll has also stressed the possibility for downstream companies to use deferrals and remissions of social and fiscal charges, which have not been used much so far.
These methods form a set of cross-cutting measures to help affected farmers and businesses, the French agriculture department's statement said.
The minister paid tribute to the commitment of state services, Regions and Departments, as well as the sense of responsibility of professionals across the restriction zone.ThePoultrySite News Desk