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Journal Articles Acta Horticulturae Year : 2022

Diversification of large-scale cereal farms through vegetables to meet urban demand in the Paris city-region: strategies and needs

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Abstract

In the Paris city-region (Ile-de-France), as in many other urban areas, there is an increasing demand for local vegetables. As the agricultural area of this region is dominated by arable crops, diversification of cereal farms through vegetables could be a promising option to contribute to fulfil this demand. However, there is a lack of literature on this type of diversification. In this study, we aimed at answering the following questions: (i) which are the drivers for cereal farmers to diversify? (ii) which are their diversification strategies? (iii) which challenges do they face and which options to support them ? We carried out semistructured interviews with a diversity of stakeholders: 11 farmers, 5 agricultural advisors, 3 local development associations and 4 value chains actors (wholesalers, cooperatives, intermediaries. A qualitative analysis of the collected material allowed us to characterize 2 contrasting diversification strategies: (i) based on market gardening close to the city (diversified range of vegetables sold in short circuits), (ii) based on field vegetables further from the cities (restricted range of vegetables sold through local but long supply chains). Diversification is above all a means for farmers to ensure the economic viability and resilience of their farm, and agronomic considerations (longer rotations) are very secondary. The main barriers encountered in diversifying mainly concern the lack of adequate labour force in the region, access to markets and the withdrawal of pesticides historically applied to vegetables (for conventional farmers). To grow, store and package vegetables, large investment can be required which is also a limiting factor. After suggesting possible ways to overcome these barriers, we discuss the fact that complementarities, tensions, collective organization between cereal-based systems and other types of vegetable farms to locally feed cities should be further explored.
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Dates and versions

hal-03813355 , version 1 (13-10-2022)
hal-03813355 , version 2 (09-01-2023)

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Hector Mussillon, Kevin Morel. Diversification of large-scale cereal farms through vegetables to meet urban demand in the Paris city-region: strategies and needs. Acta Horticulturae, 2022, 1356, pp.353-358. ⟨10.17660/ActaHortic.2022.1356.43⟩. ⟨hal-03813355v2⟩
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