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Patrick Guivarch, SICA St Pol de Léon

Is rhubarb a good diversification crop?

As diversification manager, Patrick Guivarch introduced rhubarb to SICA St Pol de Léon some 15 years ago. "My aim was to launch new products, so I had to keep an eye on the markets. At the time, I noticed that rhubarb came mainly from Germany, so I thought it would be interesting to develop a French origin."

The first few years served as a test, and rhubarb production is now well established in Brittany. "Initially, we had to carry out several growing trials to find the right variety for the fresh market. Once the variety was identified, 3 to 4 growers embarked on the adventure in 2014. Over the past 5 years, other producers have joined the group, and we now have approximately 20 rhubarb growers at SICA St Pol de Léon."

Photo credit: SICA St Pol de Léon

Great progress in 13 years
In 2023, 105 tons of rhubarb were marketed by Prince de Bretagne producers. This year, Patrick Guivarch estimates a harvest of around 180 tons between SICA and Maraichers d'Armor, a figure that is set to rise to 250-300 tons for the 2025 campaign. "These are still small volumes, but we have seen a good progression of the crop in recent years. Production has already increased in 2024 and will rise sharply in 2025, since 5 new growers planted rhubarb this year and will start harvesting next year." Rhubarb is an interesting crop in terms of diversification, especially as the climatic context makes harvests more and more insecure.

A good start to the campaign
The 2024 rhubarb campaign began two weeks ago. "Considering the weather, we are pretty satisfied with the upcoming campaign. Our volumes could end up being a little lower than expected but in terms of quality, no problem has been reported. So far, the demand is being met and contracts are honored. In fact, we are trying to get as many rhubarb contracts as possible, with the idea that a contract only works when all three parties - grower, trader and client - are satisfied."

For more information:
Patrick Guivarch
SICA St Pol de Léon
[email protected]

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