Organic agriculture in France is scaling up quickly without losing its key values, according to a new report by the French organic agricultural agency, Agence Bio. Today, organic agriculture affects practically all French people. According to the latest polling numbers, nearly 90% of French people say they consumed organic food in 2016, and nearly 70% say they did so regularly, meaning at least once per month. This is a huge improvement over the first poll, conducted in 2003, where nearly 50% of French people said they never consumed organic products.
This evolution is taking place in the context of French people giving more and more importance to the preservation of the environment in their purchases. They find in organic agriculture an answer to their expectations with an agriculture of the future, based on respecting the environment and animal welfare, and encouraging job growth and territorial development.
Today, organic agriculture is anchored in the daily life of French people and the latest numbers recorded by the national organic agriculture observatory exceed all previous expectations. Taking all available data, including from institutional food services, sales of organic agricultural products exceeded 7 billion euros at the end of 2016, versus 5.76 billion euros in 2015, an increase of 20% in only one year. Specialized stores are showing particularly spectacular increases, around 25%.
In the face of this strong demand, organic production is increasing in strength in France to reach historic heights. At the end of 2016, there were nearly 50,000 operators working in organic activities in France, 11.5% more than 2015, including 32,000 organic farmers, 12% more than 2015. The agricultural surface area dedicated to organic agriculture is also seeing exceptional growth. More than 3.7 million acres were devoted to organic agriculture at the end of 2016, a 16% increase over 2015. Today, nearly 6% of France’s agricultural areas were devoted to organic, against 4.9% in 2015. French agriculture area covers 69 million acres.