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France : Thriving organic food market needs domestic supply boost

French farmers need to boost organic food production to meet the fast-growing demand. Otherwise consumers will turn to imports at the expense of some environmental benefits. Organic food sales are expected to reach 8 billion euros in 2017 (up 14 percent on last year) and the pace of growth should continue at 10 to 15 percent for the foreseeable future.

Because domestic production couldn’t keep up, organic food imports grew last year for the first time since 2009, accounting for 29 percent of the organic food consumed in France, Reuters learned from a Coface study.

France is the third-largest organic food market, with 7 percent of the global market in 2015, behind the United States and Germany, but just ahead of China, Canada and other EU countries.

Strong demand allowed organic producers to be in better financial shape on average than other farmers, with data showing that a 10 percent increase in the share of organic produce in a sector’s output reduced insolvencies by 11 percent.

According to Coface it is key that French organic farmers, which achieve average yields about 20 percent lower than in conventional farming, boost output through innovation and expansion to meet thriving consumer demand.

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