An organic farm in Peguilhan (Haute-Garonne), July 12, 2021.

“If each French household buys a pack of organic milk in the coming months, then each Biolait producer can make a decent and peaceful living from his profession. “ This call for help from the first organic milk collector in France was launched at the end of October. Quite a symbol. Producers of milk, eggs or carrots who have chosen to practice environmentally friendly agriculture are worried. The halt in the growth of the market for products bearing the AB logo upsets the equilibrium and raises fears of pressure on prices and therefore on the remuneration of farmers.

“For some time now, we have noticed a trend reversal in the organic market”, says Emily Mayer, of the IRI research institute, which scrutinizes French purchases in stores. Yet in 2020, the lights of the organic market still seemed to be green. Agence Bio welcomed a 12.2% increase in purchases in supermarkets, convenience stores and at the farm, reaching 12.6 billion euros. But the crisis due to Covid-19 with feverish shopping against a background of confinement has blurred the benchmarks.

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“In fact, from mid-2019, we started to feel a slowdown but with the confinement, there was very strong growth in purchases in distribution. With the stock-outs, consumers took what was left on the shelf. Customers also bought more in drive, where organic is more present. After this period, we started to see a decline, but the trend remained positive. It was in April 2021 that we went into negative territory ”, explains Mme Mayer. According to the IRI, sales of products under the AB logo fell in value by 1.7% over the first ten months of the year, compared to a growth of 0.9% for all assortments of food departments. of distribution.

Call for national solidarity

This sudden braking is slipping sectors where organic volumes are already substantial. Thus the dairy industry found itself managing an overflow, especially as the growth of grass, generous this year, favored the flow of udders. According to the National Interprofessional Center for the Dairy Economy (Cniel), organic milk production increased by 11% in the first half of 2021. Faced with the difficulty of selling volumes, the surplus was downgraded, and sometimes sold as conventional milk. GMO free. At stake: a devaluation of the goods.

The number of organic farms that do without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides has exceeded 53,000 in France

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