Seeds are a vital part of agriculture, forming the foundation of worldwide food supplies. The seed industry therefore has a key role to play in ensuring food security for all, as well as building sustainability standards. As France continues to be the leading exporter of seeds, we look at the success of this sector of excellence.
The seeds of French success
“During the financial year 2019-2020, the French seed industry was responsible for exports worth 1.8 billion Euros.”
During the financial year 2019-2020, the French seed industry was responsible for exports worth 1.8 billion Euros, and for the first time, the trade surplus exceeds the billion euro mark to reach € 1,024 million (or + 7.5%). This put the country ahead of leading exporters for agricultural seeds, including the USA. This position is clearly the result of the very strong breeding sector: 53 family companies and cooperative farmers, who are 100% French, continue to create hundreds of new varieties, adapted not only to French farmers but also for farmers around the world.
The French agriculture seed sector provides over 15,000 employees and 18 000 seed-grower farmers and a large part of its production go to the domestic market. However, the Minister of Agriculture and Food, Julien Denormandie, has made his views clear. He clearly stated that “to have a strong agriculture, we must have agricultural exports”. Around half of French agricultural jobs exist thanks to the export sector.
“Seeds and seedlings also make up an impressive 35% of agricultural income for the French economy.”
Seeds and seedlings also make up an impressive 35% of agricultural income from exportations of agricultures’ products for the French economy. The commitment to remaining a leading exporter of seeds therefore remains strong.
Introducing the GNIS
The GNIS is the Interprofessional Organisation for Seeds and Plants in France (Groupement National Interprofessionnel des Semences et plants) which gathers all stakeholders of the seed sector. Within the organisation’s eight specialised sections, discussions and collaborative work may lead to the establishment of interprofessional agreements. GNIS facilitates discussions, exchanges, and decision-making.
SOC (official service for control and certification of seeds and plants) is a dedicated technical service in charge of the public mission entrusted to GNIS, in application of European regulation. It operates a stringent and well-developed certification program and SOC is also responsible for issuing European plant passports (within the EU) and phytosanitary inspections needed to deliver phytosanitary certificates (export outside the EU).
As well as overseeing all the seed stakeholders, GNIS also promotes the interests of French farmers in France and abroad. Its aim is for every farm growing commercial seeds to be able to export their products around the world.
The French seed industry combines economic and strategic importance. The GNIS plays a crucial role in supporting its ongoing growth. This includes the development of new seed varieties to help farmers in over 150 countries to meet the challenges of climate change. To learn more about this and other initiatives by the GNIS, visit their website.
From 3D printed pastry to insect protein, innovation is a key feature of French agriculture and food. To learn more, please visit our News page.