1.1 Definition and presentation
The seeds market in France is a study of the economic activity related to the primary inputs used in the agricultural sector to sow crops.
Agricultural seeds and grains are consumable agri-supply products. There are several product categories in this market:
- Agricultural seeds: there are many types of agricultural seeds, the most widespread being barley, soybean, millet, rice, legumes, corn, straw cereals (wheat and barley), sunflower, rapeseed, flax and cotton.
- Vegetable seeds: segmented by vegetable type, these include cabbage, melon, corn, eggplant, bell pepper, lettuce, carrot, watermelon, onion and many others.
- Seeds: there are different criteria for classifying seeds. Firstly, their water content (dry seeds or watery seeds), then the proportion and distribution of their tissues (seeds with perisperm, seeds with albumen or seeds without albumen or exalbuminous seeds), and finally their envelope(naked seeds, simple naked fruits, simple clothed fruits, compound fruits).
In 2021, France will benefit from around 400 million hectares of cultivation of these products. France is not only Europe's leading consumer market for seeds, but also the world's leading exporter: in recent years, France has exported an average of over 1.5 billion euros worth of seeds worldwide. In 2021, its top three export customers are European: Spain accounted for 19% of total exports, Italy 16%, the Netherlands 12%, and the top three were followed in fourth and fifth place by Mexico (5%) and Morocco (4%).
The primary factor driving growth in the sector is the increase in the world's population, which is expected to reach almost 10 billion people by 2050. This is driving a steadily rising demand for agriculture and food production , and consequently for agricultural raw materials such as seeds and grains. The market's main driver is therefore demographic growth, but there is also the need to adapt agricultural varieties to climate change. This is a strong argument in favor of seed companies, who are investing in R&D to adapt their offering.
In fact, this is what the world leader Vilmorin & Cie is doing , with the French company at the top of the market investing 16% of its revenues in R&D by 2021. The seed subsidiary of the Limagrain cooperative is the world's number one in vegetable seeds, even overtaking the giants Bayer-Monsanto and Syngenta. It has recently positioned itself in the fennel, lamb's lettuce, spinach, chard and radish markets, strategically targeting niches for growth.
In 2020, the Covid-19 epidemic had no significant impact on the sector, while the Russian-Ukrainian crisis underway since February 2022 has brought its share of bad news. In 2021, the two countries concerned accounted for almost 12% of French seed companies' exports, and they generated substantial sales there.
1.2 The global market
The global seed market was valued at US$** billion in ****, and is expected to continue growing at a CAGR of *.*% to reach US$**.* billion in ****.
World seed market World, **** - ****, in billions of USD Source: ****
The sector's growth is driven by the ever-increasing population and, consequently, by the growing need for ...
1.3 The domestic market
The French seed industry is a very important sector, both nationally and internationally. Indeed, the French market ranks first in Europe, and third worldwide, behind the United States and China. The seeds market has been growing for several years, reaching *.* billion euros in **** - ****. It grew by *.*% between **** - **** and **** - ...
1.4 Balance of trade
France is by far the leading seed producer in Europe. It produces far more than it consumes, and a large proportion of its production is exported, mainly to its European neighbors. In fact, the latter received **.*% of French exports in ****. The coverage rate (***) is therefore very high. It is generally around ...
2.1 Growing food demand
The world's population has been exploding in recent years. On November *, ****, the world's population reached * billion. On average, the population has grown by *.*% every year since ****.
World population trends World, **** - ****, in billions of people Source: ****
This upward trend is set to continue in the years ahead. Indeed, projections estimate that ...
2.2 Confidence in farmers drives local demand
Farming is a particularly popular profession in the French imagination. Indeed, although farmers don't always feel the support of the general public, **% of French people have a good opinion of farmers. In fact, farmers rank in the top * of French people's favorite professions, behind firefighters (***).
French people's favorite professions France, ****, in Source: ...
2.3 Stakeholders' needs drive farmers' choices
Farmers have to adapt to the needs of the population in order to offer appropriate products. Crops and seeds must correspond both to what the French buy for their food, and to the needs of producers, distributors and manufacturers.
Semences de France has drawn up a ranking called"Les Préférées ...
3.1 Seeds and seeds value chain
The seeds and grains market involves many players, who must coordinate their efforts to meet public demand.
3.2 Very specific professions
Breeders, and more generally plant breeding companies, produce first-generation seeds. This research work is carried out both in the fields and greenhouses, and in the laboratory. The business model of these companies is based on research and development. On average, they invest **% of their sales in R&D, compared with ...
3.3 The main players
The Fédération Nationale des Agriculteurs-Multiplicateurs de Semences(***) was founded in **** to promote seed production in France and defend the interests of seed growers. It represents some **,*** farmers in the industry in dealings with public authorities. The federation's mission is to study the entire seed-growing process, and to ...
4.1 Different types of seeds
There are many varieties of seeds and grains, divided into several categories and sub-categories. These seeds are grown in different ways and do not require the same soil and weather conditions to thrive. For this reason, many farmers grow only one species or variety, adapted to the local climate and conditions. ...
4.2 Seed prices
Seed prices fluctuate widely. In fact, seed production is highly variable from one year to the next, due to the vagaries of the weather; prices are therefore also affected. In recent years, farm-gate prices for seeds and seedlings have experienced several inflationary periods (***). While prices were on a downward trend until ...
4.3 Supply trends: organic and nutrition
Organic farming on the up
The development of organic farming in the seed sector is complex, but is becoming increasingly widespread. Although certain obstacles persist and do not favor this type of cultivation, the R&D departments of companies, as well as the work of breeders, should be able to alleviate ...
4.4 Concerns about seed availability
The number of hectares available for seed multiplication in France is declining every year. In the forage and turf sector, acreage has fallen by **% in favor of field crops, and farmers have effectively had to make their own choices. The aforementioned surge in cereal and oilseed prices has prompted ...
5.1 General seed regulations
Registration of varieties in official catalogs
In order to be marketed, a variety must be registered in the official French catalogs. It is then registered directly at European Union level, in catalogs listing all varieties authorized in the territories concerned. To do so, a variety must be different from those already ...
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