French Farm Exports Drop

For the second month in a row, French farm exports have dropped, slipping 3.4 percent by value in the middle of a major grain slump.

France, a European Union economic powerhouse, is a leader in European agricultural production. About one-third of all agricultural land in the EU located within French borders. In addition, France is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter and the sixth largest agricultural producer.

Within this context, an ongoing agricultural slump could pose a significant economic challenge to France, especially taking into consideration the larger global recession that has led to austerity measure in France and in the EU as a whole. While the recent French election, which unseated incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy, revolved around austerity in the EU rather than agricultural policy, the slump, if it continues, could pose problems for incoming Socialist Party president François Hollande.

Overall, French exports of agricultural products and food fell from €5.45 billion to €5.25, the French Agriculture Ministry recently reported. The slump is largely related to a drop in grain demand and grain prices. Overall grain shipments fell by €214 billion from last year, with two major importers of French wheat, Morocco and Algeria, both reported a drop in demand for French grains. In addition, pressure from international growers and production has led to decreasing prices.

On non-grain fronts, however, French agriculture remains strong. Wine and champagne shipments increased several million euros, corn exports rose 23 percent, and oilseed shipments increased €6 million.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer