A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Pierre Pagesse.
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.
Agriculture's key figures
The average size of French farms is 135 acres
 
The average size of French farms is 135 acres––three times smaller than in the United States (385 acres), 12 times larger than in Mali (11 acres), and 92 times larger than in China (1.5 acres)1.

Between 1970 and 2010, the average size of French farms rose to 135 acres from 52 acres resulting in a decline in the number of farms from 1.6 million to 490,0002.

Despite these developments, French farms have retained a relatively small dimension.


In fact, farms with less than 50 acres of land are still accounting for 43 percent of the total in 2010, against four percent for farms with over 500 acres. One quarter of the total number of farms are cultivating an area smaller than 15 acres3.

Regional conditions…

The average size of French farms is the result of a combination of several reasons:

- Geographic factors. The topography and size of the French territory impede the development of very large farms;
- Historical and cultural factors. France’s agriculture has been developed on the family farm system.
 
…that exemplify the French and European agricultural model.

Even while farmland restructuration is bound to continue, France will never claim the farm sizes of its major competitors.

In Eastern Europe or on the American Continent, farms spread over several thousands acres are the exceptions.

The record is a nearly six-million-acre farm4 in Australia, that is to say the size of Slovenia!

On the contrary, Chinese farmers are cultivating less than 2.5 acres on average.

Such major differences, combined with mechanization and production disparities, are one of the reasons for the elimination of subsistence farming in many African nations. They also provide an explanation as to why, owing to a lack of regulatory will, the Doha Round was doomed to failure.

Indeed, how can a farmer cultivating a few acres be as competitive as agricultural managers farming several thousands acres?

Yet, momagri insists that we will require all agricultural activities throughout the world to feed mankind by 2050.

It is therefore crucial to develop new governance systems that allow these activities to coexist. The regulated liberalization of international agricultural trade is now a must.

1 INSEE, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ministry of Agriculture of Mali.
2 French Ministry of Agriculture.
3 2010 Agricultural Census, French Ministry of Agriculture.
4 In Southern Australia, the farm’s name is the Anna Creek Station.
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Paris, 21 April 2014