France has a population of more than 64 million people. In 2010, the agriculture sector employed 716,000.
Arable land occupies 56% of mainland French territory, but this measure has been declining steadily since 1950 due to urbanization. Of the nearly 500,000 farms in France, 93% are middle range and large-scale projects. France remains a world leader in the production of specialty dairy products.
Agricultural production focuses on the following food crops: sugar beet, wheat, maize, barley and potatoes.
75-91% of the food energy consumed in France comes from crops that are not native to the region. Most of these plants’ diversity is found elsewhere on the planet. There are 263,722 crop varieties in collections of crop diversity found in France compared to the more than 700,000 found in the international collections of crop diversity supported by the Crop Trust.
France signed the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2002, joining 132 other contracting parties in commitment to a global system.