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Policies for agroecology in France: implementation and impact in practice, research and education: Review article

Abstract : The challenge of feeding the growing world population while reducing the adverse environmental effects of agricul ture will only be met by combining fundamental changes in agricultural and food systems. France is considered to be one of the first countries to develop policies in agro ecol ogy and translate them into concrete programmes and laws. This paper analyses the historical development of different agroecologyrelated programmes and policies and their implemen tation. It discusses whether they have made an impact and considers the obstacles and resisting forces that have become apparent. The work reported here is mainly based on literature review using scientific papers and grey literature and web source analysis as well using informal dis cussion with experts. The policy for agroecology started in 2010 with wide ranging debates about challenges for agricul ture in France in preserving natural resources and developing an economically viable and socially acceptable agricultural system. In 2012, the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food launched the "Agroecological Project for France" supporting education, research and incentives for farmers to move for ward with agroecology. Within this general project different sectoral programmes were set up and launched, addressing farming practices and innovation led by individuals or farmer groups. These also looked at incentivising research in nation al research programmes. New agricultural curricula for high schools and higher education institutions were also included in the scope of the project. The policy initiated in 2010 re sulted in acceleration and stronger implementation of education and training, and in increased research focussing on certain topics. It also stimulated a certain 'transition' in the agricultural sec tor with a wider acceptance of agroecological ap proaches. It brought forward pioneers which stimulated innovation based on agroecological principles. The policy measures aimed directly at farmers have facilitated more implementation of agroecological practices, stronger recognition of the impor tance of biodiversity for agriculture, and increased conversion to organic agriculture regardless of the farming system. How ever, the French policies have failed to reduce the use of pesti cides in conventional agriculture. The policy development at national level was supplemented by French initiatives at Euro pean and international level to introduce more agroecology components and principles in future policies.
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Alexander Wezel, Christophe David. Policies for agroecology in France: implementation and impact in practice, research and education: Review article. Landbauforschung - Journal of Sustainable and Organic Agricultural Systems, Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, 2020, 70 (2), pp.66-76. ⟨10.3220/LBF1608660604000⟩. ⟨hal-03708674⟩

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