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Organic food booms in France, except for cereals

media An organic wine fair in Bordeaux AFP PHOTO PIERRE ANDRIEU

More and more French people are eating organic food. Sales of organic food were worth 8.3 billion euros in 2017, a rise of 17 percent on the previous year, largely thanks to their increased availability in supermarkets.

Organic food is no longer a preserve of the middle classes, with 85 percent of consumers telling a recent opinion poll they think the development of organic farming is important.

They can now find it more easily with supermarkets now all stocking organic groceries - sales up 27 percent - and fruit - sales up 22 percent.

That development is not without its problems, however.

Some chains sell organic goods at nearly the same price as non-organic, putting pressure on growers whose costs are higher, which may discourage other farmers to convert to green production.

The figures for 2017 were good news for the sector, however:

  • The number of organic farmers rose 14.7 percent to 36,691, 8.3 percent of French farms and 6.6 percent of cultivated land;

  • Land being converted to organic production rise seven percent to over 518,000 hectares;

  • The total land devoted to organic farming reached 1.78 million hectares, up from 517,000 hectares 10 years ago.

Only cereal farming lags behind the trend.

Although France is Europe's largest grain producer, it has to import organic cereals.

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