Ferme France’s founding partners include packaged food manufacturers Sodebo and Fleury Michon alongside cooperative Terrena and cereals group Advitam.
The project aims to “gather and support all actors” in the food chain “taking into account social issues” such as animal welfare, the distribution of value in the supply chain, tractability, nutrition and health. Ferme France is also targeting a reduction of phytosanitary problems, negative environmental impacts and biodiversity loss.
Ferme France revealed it is an initiative that is based on three pillars. The coalition wants to create and promote a labelling system for assessing the societal performance of agricultural products, to contribute to the implementation of societal progress plans for committed stakeholders and to involve the consumer in the stages of development the process.
Progress plans will take into account “all stages” that make up the value chain, from production and processing to distribution and marketing, the companies claim. It will be based on “objective indicators” that are “co-constructed” and easily understandable, Ferme France added.
Commenting on the initiative, ready meals maker Fleury Michon said it is "proud" to be part of a drive to strengthen collaboration throughout the supply chain and support the viability of France's agri-food sector.
Supply chain in spotlight
The initiative comes at a time when France’s food processors and retailers are facing intense political pressure to address a perceived imbalance of power in the supply chain and improve on-farm incomes.
Last month, France’s Minister for Food and Agriculture Stéphane Travert presented a bill that aims to address this perceived imbalance of power in the supply chain to the Cabinet.
The legislation is the product of an extensive consultation process with the food sector that formed part of the government’s review of the food industry, Etats Généraux de l’Alimentation (EGA).
The EGA’s aim is to provide farmers with a fair price for their produce while also ensuring French consumer have access to a healthy, sustainable and safe food supply.
In order to strengthen the hand of French farmers in negotiations with food makers and retailers, the bill – which will not come into effect until next year – will see producers proposing contractual terms, while prices should be determined by production and market cost indicators. It also includes provision for the introduction of re-negotiation clauses for farmers and a stronger mediation service.
The legislation also proposes two highly-anticipated measures to determine retail pricing: namely lifting suggested retail prices by 10% and limiting price promotions.
The EGA bill has been described as the “first brick” of a more comprehensive road-map focusing on food policy to 2022.
Just days after the bill was unveiled, French President Emmanuel Macron threatened to name and shame brands that “do not change their practices” to ensure “the right price [is] paid to farmers”.