France, Europe’s leading agricultural power
With a base price value of €70.4 billion in 2011, French agricultural production is the leader in Europe.
France is holding its place as the leading agricultural power: its share of the value of EU agricultural production is 18.1%. France’s production is ahead of Germany’s (13.4%), Italy’s (12.3%) and Spain’s (10.6%). France thus holds the first place for beef, poultry, cereal, sugar beet, oilseed and potato production.
The sector accounted for 5.6% of French jobs in 2012, with 1.42 million employees and other workers working in agriculture, fisheries and the agrifood industries.
Trade balance: In 2012, the French agrifood trade surplus reached €11.9 billion – €75 million more than in 2011. Agrifood products (raw and processed) account for France’s second-largest trade surplus, after transport equipment (€15.6 billion).
Exports: The value of exported agrifood products amounts to €57.6 billion. Sales of wine and champagne have increased by €635 million (+9%), with rising volumes and prices. Demand is strong in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Sales of spirits are up by €445 million, led by Cognac: prices are on the increase. Sales of sugar, dairy produce, animal feed and pre-cooked dishes are rising.
Imports: In 2012, imports of agrifood products amounted to €45.7 billion. They increased by €1.3 billion (+3.0%), of which €1.1 billion came from processed products and €210 million from raw agricultural produce. Fruit and vegetable sales are improving. Meat and offal imports have increased by €261 million, as have cattle-cake imports (+€260 million), as a result of the rise in prices.
The latest agriculture laws lay the foundations for an agriculture that can meet society’s new expectations, particularly in terms of protecting the environment and the harmonious stewardship of rural areas.
The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy has also stepped up the requirement for environmental friendliness, by laying down the principle of cross-compliance, which consists in establishing a link between aid payments and compliance with certain practices that contribute to the quality of the environment.