France to Double Organic Farming Area by 2017: Report

May 31, 2013 02:06 PM EDT | By Staff Reporter

France aims to double the farmland area used to grow organic agriculture by 2017 to meet growing consumer demand through local production, Reuters note on Friday.

France has seen organic farming expand quickly in recent years but it remains a niche, accounting for 1 million hectares or 3.7 percent of farmland nationally at the end of 2012. They are the European Union's biggest agricultural producer.

"We're going to develop in such a way that we'll increase volume while maintaining the level of quality," he told reporters at a presentation of his organic farming plan. "I want the French (organic) sector to be a high-quality one."

The market for organic food in France was worth 4.17 billion euros ($5.40 billion) last year, according to the agency that promotes the development of the sector. It says an economic downturn has slowed growth from double-digit levels in previous years but 2012 sales were still up 6.6 percent on year.

According to the French organic food agency, imported organic food accounted for 25 percent of demand last year, down from 32 percent in 2011.




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