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Sarkozy announces farm aid plan

POLIGNY, Oct 27 – President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday announced an "unprecedented" 650-million-euro (970-million-dollar) aid plan for French farmers along with one billion euros in loans to the sector.

"There is no question of France abandoning its agriculture," Sarkozy said in a speech in eastern France on the future of the farm sector.

"I have come to offer you an unprecedented plan of exceptional support for our agriculture which includes one billion euros in bank loans and 650 million euros of exceptional state aid," he said.

He said the plan would be put into action "in its totality by the end of 2009."

France is the European Union\’s biggest farm producer and farming employs 770,000 people but the sector is reeling from a collapse in agricultural prices, which fell 15 percent this year, according to official data.

Angry farmers have been protesting across France in recent months to demand action over the plummeting prices that have slashed revenues in the sector.

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