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UKRAINE

France ships seeds to Ukraine in bid to avert global food crisis

France has shipped 31 tonnes of seeds to Ukraine in a bid to avert a food crisis stemming from Russia's invasion, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

France ships seeds to Ukraine in bid to avert global food crisis
Photo by Oleksandr GIMANOV / AFP

The aid from France, the EU’s biggest agriculture producer, aims to soften “the disastrous impact of the Russian invasion on Ukraine’s food security” by allowing the potential harvest of 260,000 tonnes of food, the ministry said.

The shipment includes seeds for beets, carrots, cabbage and tomatoes.

France also supplied Ukraine with 600 tonnes of seed potatoes in April and May to counter planting disruptions amid the fighting.

ANALYSIS Is France self-sufficient for food?

The Russian naval blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has stopped grain shipments from the world’s fourth-largest exporter of wheat and corn, raising the spectre of shortages and hunger in low-income countries.

Cereal prices have soared on global markets, and French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that France was assisting in transporting Ukrainian grain by truck via Romania.

The Ukrainian government says 20 to 25 million tonnes are currently blocked and could start to rot if they are not shipped soon.

The UN has warned of a “hurricane of hunger” — mainly in African countries that import more than half of their wheat from Ukraine or Russia, also a major producer.

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POLITICS

French MPs back €230m aid for households that use wood-burners for heating

Householders in France who heat their homes with wood-burners will soon be in line for financial help with the cost of keeping warm this winter.

French MPs back €230m aid for households that use wood-burners for heating

During a reading of the draft budget, the National Assembly adopted a €230 million aid package for households that use logs or wood pellets for heating.

The aid package – which had support across the Assembly, and the backing of the government – is modelled on an already existing policy to help the owners of properties that use oil-fired heating systems.

From December 22nd, households heating with wood will be able to apply for a “wood energy voucher” on the cheque energie website. Aid is means-tested, but those eligible will be able to claim between €50 to €200 to help with the cost of heating their homes.

The amendment was passed with 218 votes in favour and just one against.

According to the Agence de la transition écologique (Ademe), wood is the main source of heating for more than three million people in France. 

The price of wood-pellets used in household burners has doubled since the beginning of 2021, leaving many households struggling with the cost of fuel. 

Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal also told MPs that the government was working on ways to reduce ‘profiteering’ from the rising cost of firewood, and said that officials would “not hesitate to crack down” on any cases of fraud.

READ ALSO What are the rules on fires and log-burners in France?

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