Today, the Authion valley is the cradle of plants in Anjou and an important place of seed production in France. At the end of the 1960s, big works initiated by Edgar Pisani prevent the flatland from floods and allow the cultivation of these fertile soils. Due to ideal conditions (mild climate, nearby water, …) many plant productions are now established there: seeds, plants, fruits and vegetables, flowers and ornamenting plants, etc.
Seeds produced in the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Park are shipped across the world. France actually is Europe’s leading seeds producer as well as leading seeds exporting country toping the United States and the Netherlands.
Understanding seeds production
There are seeds to be eaten and seeds which are used for the reproduction of plants. This cultivation is different from vegetable production or even from plants production!
It’s a sector with several stakeholders:
- The seed bearers develop new varieties and sell the basic seeds which are destined to be reproduced. They also take care of the processing, packaging and marketing of the end product. Some of them are situated in the Authion valley, e.g. Vilmorin in La Ménitré or H-M Clause in La Bohalle. Both companies are part of the Limagrain group, a French cooperative and 4th biggest seeds producer of the world.
- The growers multiply the seeds according to contracts signed with the seed bearers.
- The distributors sell the end product to professionals and private persons.
The Authion valley, cradle of seeds in France
It’s mainly vegetable and fruit seeds (strawberry, radish, asparagus, raspberry, …) and corn seeds that are produced in the Authion valley. Some cultures remain, such as carrot production, while others such as garden beet have nearly disappeared. Today, only cultures with big added value still increase. Hybrid varieties (carrot, corn, …) for example, tunnel productions, flower seeds, etc.
The Authion valley is also the world’s number one producer of hemp seeds. The cooperative Hemp-It is based in Beaufort-en-Vallée and groups 130 producers of the Loire valley.
Just outside the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Park, in Angers, the competitive cluster Vegepolys fosters exchange and collaboration between the different stakeholders of the sector. In their laboratories, companies develop varieties using advanced biotechnology from the medical and aerospace sector; with one common goal: innovation.
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