France Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing

As in most highly industrialized and advanced economies, agriculture in France has also undergone profound structural, technical and organizational transformations. Starting from the second half of the last century, the government’s action was very important, aimed at curbing the rural exodus towards other activities through the creation of an agriculture capable of offering good income opportunities, similar to those of ‘industry. Indeed, agricultural productivity has steadily increased, with the creation of more efficient, entrepreneurial farms, the strong increase in the level of mechanization and the use of chemical fertilizers, the implementation of a vast network of cooperatives (which, specialized in both production and sales, they control, depending on the agricultural products, from one third to half of the total), the tendency to group the numerous mini-funds into large companies; finally, the conversion of various crops was carried out within the broad framework of economic integration in the EEC, and therefore in the EU, in which French agriculture holds the leading position. All these transformations are grafted onto an agricultural fabric of vast possibilities, given the presence of a very favorable agricultural territory, the best and largest in Europe, thanks to the beautiful plains and the various and favorable climatic conditions (meadows and pastures occupy in the together about 55% of the available land). Agricultural production, despite the problems created by the depopulation of the countryside, remain highly active, largely exceeding the domestic market demand and thus providing ample export opportunities. For many products, France holds the European record or ranks in the very first places.

There are areas suitable for specific crops (the Midi is fruit and wine-growing, the North is cereal, etc.), while a large part of the agricultural area is destined for grazing and forage crops in function of breeding. It is very productive and contributes over half to the formation of the sector’s income. Cereal farming has an ancient tradition in the North, West and in the Paris Basin, where however it is now practiced in rotation with fodder and, in the North, with sugar beet. The main cereal product is wheat, followed by barley, which is widely used in the brewing industry. Oat production has declined to the advantage of corn, which is widely used for livestock feed. Rice is cultivated in the Camargue, which is sufficient for national consumption; minor cereals are sorghum and rye. Potato production is also very high, coming mainly from Brittany. The North, especially the area between Flanders and the middle basin of the Seine, is the most suitable area for beet growing, the most important industrial crop in the country, whose by-products are destined for breeding. Viticulture has an ancient tradition, the area of ​​which extends from Midi to Champagne. The grape is widely exploited by a rich and prestigious wine and spirits industry, which has established regional qualifications: Champagne, home of sparkling wines, middle and lower Loire, South-West (Bordeaux, Médoc etc.), East (Burgundy) and Midi. France alternates with Italy, depending on the years, the world record in the production of wines. Among the crops of oil plants, flax, rapeseed, sunflower and olive trees are prominent, the latter widespread in the Midi and Corsica. For the rest, Cognac and Armagnac are famous for their brandies, Bordeaux and Paris for their liqueurs. Fruit crops (apples, pears, peaches, etc.) are mainly concentrated in the South, as well as horticultural ones (tomatoes, cabbages, onions, etc.), which are also widespread in Brittany and in the alluvial plains (middle Garonne, valleys of the Loire and the Seine).

According to Extrareference, on the Côte d’Azur, on the other hand, floriculture is important, feeding the famous French perfume industry. Tobacco, hemp, hops complete the picture of minor crops. Forests produce wood for work and for the paper industry in quantities less than needed; the woodland is essentially made up of broad-leaved trees, therefore conifers; the cork oak is quite widespread, especially in Corsica. The breeding has a very remarkable livestock patrimony, especially with regard to cattle, the basis of the prosperity of many agricultural areas, and contributes over 50% to the income of the primary sector. Both the meat and dairy industries are very active, the latter in particular is well organized and produces butter and cheeses, some of which are prestigious (the woodland is essentially made up of broad-leaved trees, therefore conifers; the cork oak is quite widespread, especially in Corsica. The breeding has a very remarkable livestock patrimony, especially with regard to cattle, the basis of the prosperity of many agricultural areas, and contributes over 50% to the income of the primary sector. Both the meat and dairy industries are very active, the latter in particular is well organized and produces butter and cheeses, some of which are prestigious (the woodland is essentially made up of broad-leaved trees, therefore conifers; the cork oak is quite widespread, especially in Corsica. The breeding has a very remarkable livestock patrimony, especially with regard to cattle, the basis of the prosperity of many agricultural areas, and contributes over 50% to the income of the primary sector. Both the meat and dairy industries are very active, the latter in particular is well organized and produces butter and cheeses, some of which are prestigious (and contributes over 50% to the income of the primary sector. Both the meat and dairy industries are very active, the latter in particular is well organized and produces butter and cheeses, some of which are prestigious (and contributes over 50% to the income of the primary sector. Both the meat and dairy industries are very active, the latter in particular is well organized and produces butter and cheeses, some of which are prestigious (camembert, brie, etc.), mostly intended for export. Sheep, goats and pigs also have a certain diffusion; very consistent is the number of poultry, whose breeding tends to be concentrated in large highly industrialized complexes. Fishing plays a secondary role in the overall picture of the French economy; however, it is a sector with an ancient tradition, which today is modernly equipped and employs a significant number of employees. There are numerous fishing ports, especially along the Atlantic and Channel coasts; Boulogne-sur-Mer, the main one, produces alone 10% of the catch, consisting of tuna, sardines and shellfish. Fécamp, Saint-Malo, Douarnenez etc., are the headquarters of canning industries which operate, however, mainly in relation to the large fishing of cod carried out in the North Atlantic, up to the banks of Newfoundland and Greenland. For Arcachon and in other centers of the Bay of Biscay is a widespread ostricoltura.

France Agriculture

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