Since the founding of the European Union, France has maintained a dominant position in agricultural production on the continent. However, French agriculture has suffered a succession of difficult harvests and a decline in export sales at the end of 2010. Nicknamed the granary of the old continent, France has lost market shares to other agricultural powers, such as Spain, but it can nevertheless benefit from a strong domestic market, particularly in wine consumption.
Benefiting from a temperate climate in the north and a Mediterranean one in the south, France has a wide variety of crops and livestock. Wine, fruit, vegetables and cattle allow the country to be less dependent on a monoculture economy. However, cereal and wine production continue to lead the way in the agricultural economy, with nearly 20 billion euros worth produced in 2018. Regarding export, the distribution is less equal than over the total agricultural value produced. Beverages alone account for more than 35 percent of the export turnover of the agri-food industry in France.
In addition to the decline in competitiveness, farmers are facing an increase in the price of agricultural land. Since the beginning of the 1990s, land prices have been rising steadily and material investments have been increasing. These phenomena are leading to the development of an agriculture perfused with French and European CAP subsidies. Without these public subsidies, very few farms would be able to continue their activities. Over 40 percent of farmers have debts of more than 400,000 euros.
Faced with debt and in order to ensure more regular income than in a fully autonomous situation, French farmers are turning to agricultural cooperatives. In 2018, there were more than 1,500 registered agricultural cooperatives in France. Highly impacted by the vagaries of the weather, it is the winegrowers and cereal farmers who have established the most agricultural cooperatives in France. Being part of an agricultural cooperative allows farmers to sell their produce to organizations other than food industry partners, with whom relations are unsatisfactory for 75 percent of French farmers.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 33 most important statistics relating to "Agriculture in France".