French farmers and politicians in bid to stop wealthy heiress buying farm for leisure use


A rich heiress from Paris recently agreed to buy a 15-hectare farm near the upmarket south-west France coastal resort of Biarritz for more than three million euros. The potential loss of more farmland in a region already very short of suitable arable and market gardening acreage immediately sparked outrage among farming and rural groups. Local farmers and activists have now occupied the land and are hoping to get the sale cancelled. They are also working with local MPs and senators in France's Basque region to change the law so that wealthy outsiders can no longer exploit legal loopholes to buy farmland and put it to non-agricultural use. Antton Rouget reports.

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It could have been just another story of a wealthy purchaser snapping up yet more farmland at an inflated price. But this time farming and rural protection groups decided to make it a political issue.