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Last updated: 6/24/2024

    Fun Facts About France's Agriculture

    1. Wine Wonder: France is one of the world's largest wine producers. Historically, regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne have set global standards for wine-making.
    2. Cheese Galore: France produces over 1,200 varieties of cheese! And just like wine, many cheeses have "Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC)" status, meaning they must be produced in a specific region to bear their traditional name.
    3. Lavender Fields: Provence is world-renowned for its mesmerizing lavender fields. These beautiful fields are not just for photos; they are a significant source of lavender essential oil.
    4. Truffle Treasures: The Périgord region in France is famous for its black truffles, often referred to as "Black Diamonds." These fungi can fetch prices higher than some precious metals!
    5. Garden Inspiration: The concept of "Potager Gardens" (kitchen gardens) started in France. These gardens combine vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs in aesthetically pleasing arrangements.
    6. Oldest Agricultural Show: The International Agricultural Show held in Paris is one of the world's oldest and largest agricultural shows. It has been showcasing French farm animals, crops, and food since 1870.
    7. Farm-Fresh Markets: Almost every town and village in France has a weekly market (marché) where local farmers sell their fresh produce. These markets are an age-old tradition and are central to French culinary culture.
    8. Farm Stays: "Ferme-auberges" are farm stays where tourists can lodge at a working farm, participate in farm activities, and enjoy freshly harvested meals.
    9. Sunflower Sea: Apart from the famous lavender fields, France is also known for its vast sunflower fields, particularly in regions like Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées. The country is among the top sunflower seed producers in Europe.
    10. Sustainable Practices: France has been a pioneer in promoting sustainable and organic farming practices. In fact, it has one of the highest numbers of organic farms in Europe.

    Info About France's Agriculture

    France, often hailed as the epicenter of culture, cuisine, and art, is also a nation deeply rooted in agriculture. Spanning from the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the wine-filled valleys of Bordeaux, France's diverse landscape offers a rich tapestry for farming and agriculture.

    GDP contribution:

    Agriculture contributes approximately 1.6% to France's GDP. It's important to verify this with recent statistics. In the second quarter of 2023, the GDP from agriculture in France increased to 7880 EUR million from 7870 EUR million in the first quarter of the same year. 1

    Fruits grown and percentage:

    • Apple: 64%
    • Peach: 9%
    • Prune: 5%
    • Strawberry: 4%
    • Apricot: 3%
    • Clementine: 2%

    Territory and population involved with agriculture:

    France devotes about 33% of its territory to agricultural production. Close to 2% of the country's population works directly in the agriculture sector.

    Fruit producing trend:

    The fruit production in France saw a modest expansion in 2022, albeit with a relatively flat trend pattern over the reviewed period. A significant spike in growth was observed in 2018 with a 13% increase from the previous year. However, the production peaked in 2014 and remained at a lower figure from 2015 to 2022.2

    The average yield of fruits in France rose rapidly to a certain value (X tons per ha) in 2022, marking a 6.6% increase compared to the previous year. Similar to production, the yield showed a relatively flat trend pattern, with the most pronounced growth occurring in 2018 (16% increase). The yield peaked in 2015 but failed to regain momentum from 2016 to 2022.3

    Domestic and exported fruits:

    Domestic Production: The production value of fruits and vegetables, including potatoes, in France is around 15 billion euros.

    Exports: France exports a significant amount of its fruit production. In 2021, some of the top fresh fruit export commodities included apples, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and cherries, which accounted for a combined $3.1 billion. The top markets for these exports were Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.4

    Reliance on seasonal workers:

    The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the reliance on seasonal fruit pickers in France. With the pandemic restricting the movement of foreign seasonal labourers, France faced a challenge to ensure that fruits and vegetables were harvested in time to prevent spoilage. There were appeals made to French citizens, especially those not currently working, to assist with the harvest. 5

    Number of farms and agricultural entities:

    In 2020, France had 416,400 farms, which was 20% less compared to a decade ago. Cattle production utilized 33% of the French agricultural area, and the average area of French farms increased to 69 hectares in 2020 from 55 hectares in 2010. The data also noted a growing importance of organic farming in France.6

    A once-in-a-decade agricultural census released by the ministry showed that the number of farms in France decreased to 389,000 from 490,000 in 2010, indicating a trend of declining farm numbers that began in the 1970.

    A report noted that between 2010 and 2020, the number of farms in France fell by 21%, from 490,000 to 389,000, which equates to nearly 100,000 farms being wiped off the map in metropolitan France over a span of 10 years.7

    According to a strategic plan report, there were about 456,000 farms in France, with an average size of 69 hectares per farm. The total agricultural land in France is approximately 28 million hectares, which is about half of the country's total territory.8

    Agricultural programs:

    France has several agricultural programs, many of which are supported by the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    Seasons for migrant workers:

    Cherry and Strawberry Harvesting: hese usually occur in the Loire Valley, the Rhone, and Alsace regions. The specific seasons for cherry and strawberry picking weren't explicitly mentioned, but cherries and strawberries are typically harvested in late spring to early summer (May-June) in many regions.

    Plum Harvesting: This takes place in the Southern Pyrenees. While the exact timeframe wasn't provided, plum harvesting in many areas occurs in late summer to early fall.

    Melon Harvesting: Occurs in the Rhone Valley. Melons are typically harvested in the summer months.

    Grape Harvesting: The grape picking season spans from September to mid-November across various regions in France.

    Technology adoption and government involvement:

    France has been keen on adopting modern farming technologies. Most notable uses are: robotic harvesting, machine vision technology, intelligent robots, and drones.

    Jobs provided:

    The fruits and vegetable sector provides 450,000 direct jobs and encompasses about 75,000 companies, with the 700,000 in the agriculture sector. 9

    Earnings for seasonal workers:

    On average, fruit or vegetable pickers in France earn a gross salary of €22,713 annually, which translates to an hourly rate of about €11. Another source states the average fruit picker salary in France is slightly lower at €21,392 annually or an equivalent hourly rate of €10.