© Pascal Xicluna / Min.Agri.Fr

The French Ministry of Agriculture has put the notion of bioeconomy at the heart of its national agriculture strategy. Bioeconomy, also called bio-based economy or biotechonomy, refers to the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy via innovative and efficient technologies.

Bioeconomy is founded on production, accumulated mobilization, and optimization of the value of biomass, particularly plant biomass, and allows for using a maximum amount of abundant, renewable energy: solar.

A bioeconomy strategy is supported by two main actions:

  • The accumulated and sustainable mobilization of biomass, which preserves ecosystems that produce raw materials (respect of biodiversity, countryside, level of organic matter in soils, etc.)
  • The optimization of the use of biomass as produced to guarantee the ability to meet food and non-food needs

The implementation of the bioeconomy strategy at the governmental level is fundamental to guarantee consistency to all of the actions taken and to avoid competition between them by creating conflicts in the use of biomass.

The French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, indicated that the development of this economic model is a major issue for France. It should allow the country to move from an economy based on fossil fuels to one based on renewable carbon, while respecting the balance between food security and non-food needs.

The bioeconomy is a sector in which France has numerous assets that can be used:

  • A large potential in biomass, with origins in agriculture, forestry, water resources and waste
  • Prospects for producing biomass, either already in existence of in development: Hemp, for example, is used in low carbon footprint buildings, flax fibers are used in car parts in order to lighten them and reduce fuel use, wood energy is developing, and the production of biogas through methanization is helping to reduce fuel imports.

    This shared vision of the issues around bioeconomy will be complemented by a plan detailing concrete actions to be implemented. A strategic committee will be put in place that groups all of the major actors in the public and private spheres. This dedicated group will notably allow for questions about standardization and regulatory changes that relate to bioeconomy to be dealt with, and will also deal with possible conflicts that may arise and communicating with the public.