Photo Report: Room for growth sets positive tone at Sival in Angers

A vivid and positive atmosphere provided the backdrop for a well visited edition of the Sival exhibition in Angers this week. The attendance of the 23,000 visitors from 22 countries reflected the potential and situation that the French industry is currently in.

Speaking to both greenhouse growers and suppliers of greenhouse technology, we learned that the French growers are experiencing good times. Their industry is investing in new greenhouse projects, replaces outdated technology and makes a transition to very advanced high-tech greenhouse production.

"While at a moderate pace, growers are investing in new production area to answer the increasing demand for locally grown produce. French product is preferred above imported produce, and therefore there is still a lot of room for growth over here", an exhibitor told us.

Most of the French greenhouse vegetable producers are located in the region of Bretagne. France is a relatively small producer, compared to other European countries. While there is quite a few production in plastic greenhouses, as well as under glass, the acreage is only good for a total 7% of the entire consumption of tomatoes.

Until a few years ago, the most expansions in this area where usually not larger than 1 to 1,5 hectare. More recently, growers are showing interest in larger scale production. Also the investments more to the South, in energy efficient semi-closed greenhouses of 4, 5 and sometimes even 8 hectare are an example of this.

The expansion of the acreage is partly driven by the interesting financing that is available via banks like Crédit Agricole. Another reason is the attractive subsidies and rebates that were available. Some growers informed us to receive about 10 to 20 percent of subsidy if their greenhouse project was using innovative technology.

Another interesting market in France are the solar greenhouses; steel greenhouse structures with PV-panels on top of them and an easy crop that does not demand too much light underneath them. The purpose of these structures is mainly production of electricity.

All of these reasons have resulted in an interesting industry in which much development takes place. Not only in terms of greenhouse growing and construction of new projects, but also in other supplying industries such as maintenance, service and research.

Click here for a photo report of the 2017 Sival exhibition in Angers.

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