A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
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Grain storage
The five million-ton “silo plan” is making very slow progress

Article published in Terre-net Magazine

The grain sector is laboring to remove bottlenecks to the “silo plan” launched in 2011 and make it possible to create, in the early stages, a five million-ton storage capacity by 2016. If the needed regulatory changes regarding industrial hazards will be made shortly, Coop de France is asking for government support to find the available land to install the future facilities.

Launched in mid-2011 by the grain sector, the “silo plan”––whose primary objective is giving France an additional five million tons of grain storage by 2016––is advancing at a very slow pace.

In a progress report issued a year after the program launch, Coop de France released the figures obtained from its members: 170 current or upcoming projects in 96 cooperatives were tallied, half of them concerning expansions of existing capacities, while the other half involved greenfield facilities. These projects should add 2.3 million tons to the French storage capacity.

Regulatory changes expected by September 2012

Since the 2011 kickoff of the “silo plan”, the grain sector brought up two major obstacles for its implementation. The first concerns industrial risk regulation, including declaration/authorization thresholds that are not adapted to silos, as well as the lengthy delays in processing evaluations.

Regarding this matter, the sector secured a revised listing of classified facilities with the creation of a registration system for flat silos. The legislation to be issued by the end of September should first make a distinction between flat and vertical silos. “Evaluations will be made separately, so that for a site where the two types of silos are planned, the new regulation will permit to double the volume allowed in the previous one,” states Florent Varin, Head of the Safety/Environment Division at Coop de France.

According to the upcoming legislation, vertical silos will remain subject to a declaration over 5,000 cubic meters, and will require an authorization over 15,000 cubic meters. Beyond 15,000 cubic meters, flat silos will no longer require an authorization, but a registration procedure that will reduce processing delays from 16 to four or five months only.

New silos prohibited in rural areas

In addition to the regulatory bottleneck, cooperatives are facing difficulties in finding available sites to install the new facilities. Most probably, this hurdle will hinder the sector’s ambitions. “If discussions are taking place pending a directive from the Ministry of Agriculture,” indicates Coop de France, cooperatives will not be in a position to alter the urban planning code, which prohibits the construction of silos on sites located in rural areas.

Consequently, Coop de France would like more government support, and especially the assistance of local authorities for cooperatives involved in construction projects.

Until the new Minister of Agriculture fully addresses the “silo plan” and its implementation difficulties, Coop de France has drawn up a professional guide on designing silos in order to assist cooperatives in outlining projects that are perfectly suited to their needs.

Increasing storage volumes by over 20 percent

Be that as it may, the “silo plan” is a must for France to achieve its ambition to become a key player in grain market regulation. With its 55 million-ton storage capacity, the country is not able to store the additional 750,000 tons of grain produced annually, or build up grain and oilseeds reserves to be exported to other nations when opportunities occur.

To fulfill its ambitions, France should have storage capacities of 68 to 79 million tons. The “silo plan” will therefore increase the volume by close to 15 million tons over the medium term.

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Paris, 24 April 2019