French organic wheat sector hit by sluggish demand
SubtitleRUETERS

By Author

By Sybille de La Hamaide2 hours, 30 minutes ago

France's organic wheat harvest, which makes up less than one percent of the country's total wheat crop, will be plentiful this year but the sector is threatened by stagnant demand, producers said on Wednesday.

"First cuttings show the 2005 organic soft wheat crop will be satisfactory in volume and quality," Intercereales said in a statement.

The umbrella group of grain producers and consumers did not give a precise estimate for the crop but the president of its organic division, Salvador Ferret, said the total would be above the average of 60,000 tonnes a year.

Organic agriculture has taken off over the past decade in Europe after food and farming crises over mad cow disease, dioxin, foot-and-mouth and swine fever, and amid continued concerns over genetically modified crops (GMOs).

But interest in France lags behind that in other European countries. And organic wheat, used to make baguettes, biscuits and sliced bread, is now under threat in the country due to a drop in prices that started several seasons ago, Ferret said.

"Between 1997 and 2002, there was a real craze for organic products, which led to a huge demand to the point where production could not keep up," he said.

"We worked hard and organic grain production increased strongly. But at the same time demand has stagnated as public interest and consumption remained stable. So we are now in a situation of over-production," he added.

French organic wheat prices are close to the level where it would be more profitable for producers to go back to growing conventional wheat, putting the whole sector at risk.

"The real worry is to see farmers...go back to conventional farming," Ferret said.

To reverse the drop in prices, organic producers have tried to boost demand and attract industrial bread and biscuit makers by increasing grain quality.

"Organic wheat was first aimed at traditional bread makers. But we've raised the quality so that it meets industrial requirements," Ferret said. "All we have to do now is to convince them, as well as consumers, to use more of it."

France said earlier this year it wanted to boost its organic sector, which recorded a two percent drop in cultivated area and a three percent fall in the number of farms last year.

Under a 20-year blueprint for agriculture, France plans to grant a tax rebate to farmers who earned 40 percent of their income from organic farming.


Recent news and research

404 Not Found
bluehost Affordable, Reliable
Web Hosting Solutions.

404 Error File Not Found

The page you are looking for might have been removed,
had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

Web Hosting provided by Bluehost.com

Stay Up-to-Date –
Sign up for our Newsletter

NewFarm.org changes daily! Don't miss out on the latest interactive features, columns and news. Sign up now for our monthly e-newsletter and stay connected.

ACTION ALERTS

•Free the meat markets! End packer ownership and stop closed-door deals

• Support Saskatchewan farmers in efforts to block GM wheat

• Stop budget cuts to conservation programs--the one's that help you pay for environmentally sound farming practices!

Share Your Stories

Are you a farmer? A consumer? Whatever story you have to tell, let it be an inspiration to others.
Share it with us now...

T H E    N E W    F A R M – R E G E N E R A T I V E    A G R I C U L T U R E    W O R L D W I D E