Since 2003 there has been a gradual increase in the number of investments made into the sector on a global scale. In the period between 2007 and 2008, there was a global increase in the sector of 34%. While fDi Markets recorded a small loss of 3% between 2008 and 2009, the trend has been steadily upward over the last 7 years.

However in France, one of the world’s largest agriculture markets, sharp declines have been experienced, particularly in 2006 when investments fell by 46% and 2009 when they fell by 73%, according to fDi Markets.

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French president Nicholas Sarkozy has now stated that new rules need to be established among the European community to support agricultural growth and fair pricing. The Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OEDC) supports his plans and has argued that if governments work together, extreme price swings, which are detrimental to the farming community, can be mitigated and vulnerable consumers and producers better protected.

The volatility of agricultural commodity prices is detrimental for farmers; in particular the impact of soaring cattle feed prices on farming activities.

Another threat farmers are facing, not only in France but in other developed countries, is increasing competition from less developed countries in Africa and South America, offering lower export taxes and commodity prices.

Mr Sarkozy is pleading for the European Union to defend farming communities in Europe, to ensure a preference is given to the region “based on its sanitary and environmental norms”.