Farmers go direct selling

While cooperative consumer supermarkets are starting to appear in France, the number of producers' stores is on the rise, particularly those created and managed collectively by farmers.

Certainly, the first producer shop was probably created in 1978, but the associative movement of direct sales is in strong growth. According to our colleague Economic Alternatives, some 400 direct sales structures exist today, in France, according to the data of the research project Magpro, conducted between 2014 and 2017, at the initiative of the Training and Information Association of peasants and rural people (Afipar).

Thus, around 67,000 farmers nowadays market all or part of their production in a short circuit and almost 10% of them have made the choice to create producers' stores or to get involved.

In Paris, a united and participative Louve

Small structures

It was only in 2010 that a memo from the Ministry of Agriculture set the conditions that the producers of the collective points of sale must respect to enter the regulatory, health and fiscal framework, the "Direct delivery". These rules are the same as those governing the sale on the farm: to be present at the point of sale, to guarantee that the sellers are really the producers of the products ... In 2014, the law even specified that the products of the farmers-sellers must represent at least 70% of the turnover of their stores or direct sales counters.

Association law 1901, private company (SARL, SAS), economic interest group, collective interest cooperative ... direct agricultural sales stores have various and varied legal status. These are, however, small structures that federate 13 producers, on average, for an average turnover of 360 000 € per year, still according to the Magpro project.

La Cagette, a cooperative supermarket in the making

The geographical origin of the products depends on the farmers themselves. In Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, for example, "The Terre des envies network (34 stores) recommends a maximum distance of 80 km between the farms and the point of sale"according to Economic Alternatives. As for the quality requirements, organic products are increasingly part of the specificities of direct agricultural sales.

300 farmer "drives"

Another dynamic phenomenon, the drives ("points of withdrawal") farmers are also growing. For example, the network Bienvenue à la ferme, which has been promoting direct sales for a quarter of a century and federating some 9,000 farmers, lists "120 points of withdrawal in France" on an interactive map (1).

Farmers' products are sold online and then prepared and made available to customers on-site, at the farm or at the collective direct sales counter. The first of the farm drives was probably born in 2012, near Bordeaux, under the impulse of the Chamber of Agriculture of Gironde and the Relay Association agriculture and tourism of the Gironde. In total, there would be at least 300 cooperative farmer drives in France today.

Antoine Peillon