France, world seed market leader
France is global leader in seed trade export with over EUR 3,3 billion seeds and nursery plants in the 2017-2018 campaign. European leader in varieties registration and seed production area, France has managed to keep a key role in the world seed market over the years. What are the main characteristics of this success? Surely having the greatest arable surface in Europe and being a country of food industry excellence helps. Also, France benefits from an honorable plant research and seed breeding historical background.
But modern techniques evolve so fast it’s a real challenge to stay at the cutting edge of innovation. And even more challenging in a country where precautionary measures restrict the use of GMO’s, CRISPR, limit the use of pesticides and herbicides… unless these challenges are strongly boosting researchers’ creativity?
Let’s look into the characteristics of the French seed industry, exporting more than half of its seed production to more than 150 countries, for a trade surplus of more than a billion dollars.
WORLD LEADER IN SEED EXPORT
With a total of €947 million, the balance of trade in seeds and seedlings remains at an exceptionally high level, representing 34% of European exports. During the 2017-2018 campaign, imports increased by 4.6% €696 million, offset by exports which rose by 1.7% to total €1,643 million. This performance follows on the +8% average yearly export over 10 years, during this period France doubled its trade balance.
Vegetable seeds, the second largest export, allow France to be present in 140 countries around the world.
After two years of decline, the trade balance in maize returned to growth (+12%): 7% drop in imports to €134 million and a 7% increase in exports to €577 million.
EUROPEAN LEADER IN SEED PRODUCTION
France is the first seed-producing country in Europe, with 360 000 hectares in 2018, representing 17% of the total European area dedicated to seed and seedlings production. Also, the first country in number of certified plants (annual report UFS.
Seed companies contract with farmer-multipliers to multiply all generations of seeds of more than 6,000 varieties of all species: beet, cereals, fodder, grass, flax, hemp, maize, sorghum, rapeseed, sunflower, potato, protein-seed peas, non-vegetable and floral... and thus allow rapid dissemination of genetic progress to all farmers and gardeners, thus towards consumers.
For these qualities, all the main players in the sector worldwide are in France:
- National companies favour national production plans to supply the domestic and export markets.
- Multinational companies have historically chosen France as their preferred business location, as France is the leading European market, but they have also set up research centres, factories and logistics platforms to supply varieties and seeds to European markets and beyond.
In France, 13% of the turnover of seed companies is invested in R&D: 73 breeding companies, more than 70 species worked on, in 130 research centers, more than 600 new varieties registered each year in the official French catalogue, which cumulates 9000 registered varieties.
RnDExperience®, FRENCH R&D TOOLS MAKING RESEARCH LEADERS
Many European seed companies use RnDExperience® to create and put on the market their new varieties, with the maximum efficiency, security and ROI. This integrated plant breeding software developed by the French Tech company Doriane equips also technical institutes and agro-food industries to centralize their data and enhance research collaboration.
For instance, the flour of most pizzas, pastas or bread in Europe, comes from cereal varieties varieties created and developed using RnDExperience® software! Yes, more than half of the common wheat cultivated in Europe is a variety or hybrid created and developed by RAGT, Unisigma, Secobra, Mas Seeds, Agri-obtentions, Caussade Semences… with RnDExperience® plant breeding software.
This leadership obtained by these companies in areas as important as durum wheat for pasta or malt for beer makes RnDExperience the undisputed leader software for the success of the R&D of these seed companies. Doriane SAS is the Publisher of RnDExperience® software, some of these customers have been using Doriane software for over 30 years.
Semences et progrès fév 2019 : http://www.semences-et-progres.fr/maj/phototheque/photos/pdf/188ufs.pdf
Communiqué de presse UFS 12 nov 2018: http://www.ufs-semenciers.org/actualites/Documents/20181109_La%20France%20championne%20du%20monde%20des%20semences.pdf
Annual Report 2017-2018 UFS http://www.ufs-semenciers.org/actualites/Documents/RA-2017-2018-BD.pdf