Announcements

Job offersmore »




Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




France: Organic sector growing, but remains challenging

The success of the distribution of organic products has become less and less of a secret. Faced by a growing demand the sector is developing, whilst always respecting its values. 

In the greenhouse, Christophe and Sylvain harvest their salad by hand. The two brothers took on their parent's farm over 20 years ago and have turned to organic farming. ''Even when we were just helping out as family on the farm, we were sensitive to a quality production that respected nature,'' explains Sylvain Pontoni. ''The first 10 years were hard, the market was not yet prepared, it was a slightly crazy idea''. Now, the brothers are able to live off their produce and pay two permanent employees as well as about ten seasonal workers. This is not, however, a reason to rest on their laurels:  the production prices are high and the demand is growing but challenging. ''What will guarantee the producer's livelihood is the price at which the product will sell. Many consumers are going organic but with conventional ideas,'' notes Sylvain. ''We want it to be attractive, good, and inexpensive.  If the price was the only factor, organic French farming would no longer exist, because it is cheaper in neighbouring countries.  The advantage of Biocoop is that it favours local produce.''     

Cooperative and growth

Biocoop is the cooperative network of organic produce shops. The organisation has 4 redistribution platforms, one of which is at Port-Sainte-Marie. It is here where the production from organic farmers from the south-west is transported. ''Last year, Biocoop, which is one of our partners, was responsible for 95% of the volume of the cooperative's production'', specifies Claude Daminet, Cabso's quality manager. 

A profitable partnership, because Biocoop took part in the development of the farming cooperative which also needs to produce more to supply the growing demand: ''Apart from in 2013, for climate reasons, our farmers are producing between 5% and 10% more than the year before to fill the shelves,'' calculates Claude Daminet. ''We also had to diversify, that includes offering products that one no longer finds in conventional farming.'' 

Bio-diverse

From a farmer's point of view, it is this diversity that enriches organic produce. Sylvain Pontoni, who has come to deliver his batavia to the cooperative points out a factor that is essential in organic farming: ''With organic farming, we avoid looking at things product by product, they all complement one another,'' he explains.


He illustrates this process: ''Our farm has 25 ha of alfalfa, that brings in next to nothing, but it structures the soil and allows us to rotate for other products.''

Bringing awareness

This variety is also found in shops. Aude, a loyal customer of the Pré Vert in Agen, confirms that she finds 95% of everyday consumer products there.  ''For the rest, I complete it at the market.  I only go to large retail stores for cat food,'' she laughs. Product quality and a short chain to retail, are the advantages that are making this form of consumption more and more popular.  She will pay 2.10€ for the batavia produced by Sylvain or another farmer from the Lot-et-Garonne, but it is worth it.  ''I know where the product comes from. Biocoop have an ethics charter which guarantees that the vegetable was cultivated within a 150 km radius.'' A price to pay for the small sacrifice of everything biscuit-related and other processed products which she realises ''become expensive'', estimating that she pays about 100€ a week for her certified organic shopping. Like Aude, there are more and more people opting for the quality claimed by organic produce. Delphine Noirot, shop manager, is glad to see the loyal customers coming back as well as attracting more and more new clients: ''Our shop in Boé counted 55.206 receipts in 2013, ten thousand more than in 2012.  We can tell that people are starting to realise that you can't just eat anything.''

Happiness is in the Pré vert (green field)

Since its creation 30 years ago, the brand which is counted amongst the 5 Biocoop establishments in the region-has not stopped growing. ''It is Pierre Kung, himself a farmer, who set up the first point of sale in Agen based on a model from AMAP.  Success and demand both contributed to it becoming a SARL in 2004 and since 2012 we are a Scop with 13 associates,'' explains the co-manager Delphine Noirot. With her counterpart, Anne Duloue who is in charge of the Boé shop, they registered a 12% increase in turnover last year compared to 2012 and it was not a successful year:  ''The results always go up, or at the worst they stagnate, but this is the case at a national level'', they assure us.  Their philosophy:  establish  direct contact with the producer. ''We are not in price negotiation, but in the setting up of long-term partnerships''. 

Source: ladepeche.fr

 


Publication date: 1/20/2014

 

 
 
tweet
 
share

email
   
print
 
subscribe

 

Other news in this sector:

9/19/2014 Belgian strawberry grower Marc Munters wins Haifa’s iPhone 5S
9/19/2014 Growers from Central America impressed during visit at Ter Laak Orchids
9/19/2014 Mexico: Rene Produce named Mexico’s exporter of the year
9/19/2014 The St. Canada (ON): Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre is growing a living crop
9/16/2014 “There is always a market for quality”
9/16/2014 US (MN): Very clean lettuce thanks to fish waste
9/16/2014 UK: Successful conference on Vertical and Urban farming at Nottingham University
9/16/2014 Bad situation in horticulture forces another Dutch tomato grower to stop
9/15/2014 "Future success of Japanese horticulture depends on the adaptation of Dutch technology"
9/11/2014 Australia: 16 hectare project of Cor Disselkoen taking off
9/10/2014 US (ME): A day in the greenhouse with Backyard Farms' Head Grower
9/10/2014 US: Growing plants in the Sonoran Desert
9/10/2014 US (CT): New Nexus Greenhouse at Sam Bridge in full production
9/8/2014 "Lack of Dutch flavoured tomatoes is a loss for the Russians!"
9/5/2014 UK: Gardener grows two tomatoes shaped just like rubber ducks
9/5/2014 US (MN): Ely man's tomato smashes world record
9/4/2014 US (NY): High tunnel in Watertown shelters raspberries from elements
9/4/2014 Africa: An organic approach to growing business
9/4/2014 US (NM): Large-scale hydroponic farming taking seed in Albuquerque
9/4/2014 Australia: Why Steffen is Passionate about Greenhouses