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France: The invisible activities on the auction in Agen

The direct trade between producers and the business buyers makes up the visible activity on the auction in Agen in the south west of France. But there is a lot more trade going on on the 30 ha area.

There are twenty buying and selling offices, where prices are debated for days on end. There are also dozens of wholesalers and importers. According to them the power of the auction in Agen is that the buyer can find anything here: from local to exotic products. There are also shippers here, as well as businesses which are specialised in packaging, such as Alphila, les Jardins d'Aquitaine, a packaging workshop who employs around one hundred people with disabilities. There is also a shop which sells and repairs scales, and also a shop which sells all kinds of accessories such as pens. Everything has been though of at the auction in Agen, which harbours around 60 businesses in total and where around 500 people are employed.
The two largest businesses that are located in the auction, are Sater and Les Trois domaines. Sater employees 600 people in France, of which 40 work at the auction in Agen. The business has over 250 trucks which mainly supply fruit and vegetables.
Les Trous domaines employs 60 who will receive, sort and send over 18,000 tonnes of apples. This business has modern conveyor belts. An apple is photographed 20 times, from all possible angles. Its quality, colour and weight are analysed, and depending on the result it is placed automatically in its category. 60% of the apples, from local orchards, are exported to Thailand, Dubai, China and Russia, under the name Blue Whale.
The auction in Agen is owned by a mixed employers organisation which consists of the General Board and the municipality of Agen. The chairman is Laurence Maiöroff. The safety and services are the responsibility of Sologemin, which employs 16 people among which a number of technicians. 
Annually 150,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables are traded. The auction has cooled storage space of 16,400 m3 which is accessible for buyers as well as producers. These are mainly from Limoges, Rodez, Ile de Ré, Ariège and Bayonne.

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