Annual Agricultural Fair in Paris Comes to an End

Nearly 1,300 exhibitors from 22 different countries around the world displayed their prized animals, food and food products this past week at the 51st annual Salon International de l’Agriculture.

More than four thousand animals were transported to Paris to be displayed. Often referred to as the “biggest farm in France”, the salon showcases local products, regional and international gastronomy, large-scale farming, and eco-tourism.

New technologies were also promoted this year – satellite, drones, robots in animal and vegetable production, etc.Many showed interest in the future of food production, particularly the younger generations.

This year, the event recorded the largest number of visitors in its history – 703,407 counted just before closing – up from 694,000 in 2013. The number is not surprising when you consider that 87 percent of French people can confirm buying directly from a producer, and four out of ten consider themselves to be faithful to this practice.

As tradition dictates, President François Hollande arrived bright and early on Saturday, February 22, to spend the day sampling a variety of delicacies, meeting the country’s food producers, and partaking in the dialog between the farmers and politicians of France.

The main topics at this year’s salon were the price of milk, GMOs, environmental directives in the agricultural policy, and the eco-tax. Hollande spoke of increasing competition and reconquering lost markets: “when the prices lower in Germany, they also lower in France and, when they go up again in Germany, they do not go up in France.

Hollande spent about seven hours at the event before parting, commenting that his participation was a moment of “pleasure and happiness”. In the two previous years, during his election campaign and following his election, Hollande had spent an unprecedented ten hours at the event.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and twelve other ministers followed Hollande to participate in the fair. During his second visit to the Porte de Versailles on Friday, Ayrault said, “ecology needs allies; these allies are the scientists, the industrial workers, the farmers”.

Ayrault stated that holding an extremely ambitious discourse that would not have any chance of being applied is a uniquely intellectual situation.

Guy Vasseur, the President of the Chambres d’agriculture, said the discourse suited them, however problems arise when action does not follow. The climate surrounding the discourse was “serene, serious, full of exchanges, but the agricultural world will seek concretization next.

The phenomenon of the agricultural fair in France started with the creation of the Concours General Agricole in 1870. In 1925, the event moved to the Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles. Initially it was reserved only for animals, which has now evolved into competitions and the exhibition of local products, wine and, this year for the first time, flowered pastures.

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  1. […] Annual Agricultural Fair in Paris comes to an end. Nearly 1,300 exhibitors from 22 different countries around the world displayed their prized animals, food and food products this past week at the 51st annual Salon International de l’Agriculture. More than 4000 animals were transported to Paris to be displayed. Often referred to as the “biggest farm in France”, the salon showcases local products, regional and international gastronomy, large-scale farming, and eco-tourism. New technologies were also promoted this year – satellite, drones, robots in animal and vegetable production and many others. Crowds showed interest in the future of food production, particularly the younger generations. […]

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