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French organics a fast rise with a quick fall?

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France is known for being very protective over their local products (in French produits du terroir). The Fédération Nationale d’Agriculture Biologique (Fnab) (french for National Federation of Organic Agriculture) launched its 6th national campaign last September, announced La Gazette des Communes.

The Fnab was created almost 40 years ago to give a voice to organic producers. Today it is the only agricultural professional network that specializes in organic farming in France. It consists of a national federation, but also regional and departmental groups that spread across the country. Today the organic industry in France is doing well. The double-digit growth for organic products, reached 14.7% in 2015, was driven by strong demand: nine out of ten French citizens consumed organic food products in 2015 and 65% on a regular basis. Last year, the organically cultivated surface increased by 23%. This is a chance for rural areas because this model of agriculture not only has strong growth but generates more jobs.

Yet the dynamics of France’s organic production could experience a setback. The state and the regions have underestimated the movement of conversion to organic farming. Because of that, the subsidies  planned for 2015-2020 are already depleted in many regions and capped almost everywhere. Some farmers who have invested to make or maintain organic farming, find themselves in a difficult position because the expected aid is not arriving. Others have postponed their conversion. Therefore, the Fnab has demanded from the state and regions to ensure the aid payments for 2016 and 2017 and to revise budgets for the remaining programs until 2020.

The Fnab has also called on local authorities to support the development of organic agriculture in the context of genuine territorial projects. The campaign “Bio local c’est l’idéal”  comes at a very crucial moment, because if the French agriculture can not satisfy the demand, consumers will turn to foreign products.



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