In the early 2000s, the producers of Costières worked to obtain the protected designation “strawberries of Nîmes” for the gariguettes and ciflorettes of the region, grown outdoors under shelters. They have had to wait for 12 years and put in a lot of energy to finally obtain the “Strawberries of Nîmes” PGI label in the Official Journal.
But today, the local agricultural economic situation has changed completely. In 2009, (and then again in 2011), the violent arboriculture crises put a strain on most of the farmers in Costières who were still growing strawberries in the fields under shelters. When the PGI was obtained in 2013, out of the 20 farmers in the 2000s, there were only 3 left. Meanwhile, the strawberry production had gone from 200 tons to only 40 tons.
Besides, the PGI has become a constraint rather than an asset. “The association of producers that started the project had drafted the PGI specifications but they had to resort to a certifying body that imposed considerable constraints, namely for the controls. However, these constraints were not achievable economically by small structures. If we had sold our strawberries three times the price, it was doable, but for 50 cents extra, it was impossible. In fact, we would have needed all the initial producers to stay,” explains Laurent Ducurtil, producer in Beaucaire.
Unable to comply with all the constraints of the PGI, the producers are legally no longer allowed to use the “strawberries of Nîmes” label.