New perspectives of the French on agriculture
Crédit Agricole survey / #agridemain carried out by BVA
To celebrate Agriculture Week (13 to 24 May), Crédit Agricole and #agridemain are presenting the results of a survey carried out by BVA to better understand French people's views on agriculture. It seems that their image of this demanding profession, essential to our nutrition, has dramatically improved over the past few years and that they continue to be surprised by it.
Crédit Agricole, the leading bank among farmers, joined the association #agridemain and BVA to survey French opinion on the subject of agriculture. An identical survey carried out in 2015 allowed us to highlight some important changes.
The outcome of the survey is remarkable: the image of agriculture among the French has continued to improve with 71% having a highly favourable opinion (vs 59% in 2015). They consider themselves familiar with this profession and yet are surprised by the many benefits it provides our country, notably in terms of the environment.
A majority highly favourable opinion of farmers
- 70% of French respondents have complete trust in farmers
- 77% recognise that they played a positive role during the Covid crisis
- Generally speaking, they believe farmers are essential for the country and its population (85%)
- 70% consider that farmers can be proud of their work, and 79% that they know how to run a business
- But they are also aware that the financial conditions are often difficult (54%) and that the sector suffers from a shortage of young people entering the field (44%)
A marked interest in farmers!
- Nearly 9 out of 10 French respondents (87%) would like to be able to exchange with farmers
- They would primarily like to be able to meet them on their farms or when purchasing food via short distribution channels, with those under 35 naturally preferring social networks
- 94% of the surveyed sample consider the quality of French agriculture to be on par with, or even better (44%) than that of other European countries
A sector open to innovation
- 52% of French respondents find that agriculture has improved over the past five years - in particular those between 25-34 years old (59%)
- They are particularly impressed by improvements in the development of short distribution channels (74%), traceability (68%) and the quality of food products (60%)
- Nearly 8 out of 10 French respondents consider that the sector is open to innovation (78%) and that this is a means to better preserve the environment while providing a proper wage to farmers (71%)
The French recognise the role of farmers in land and environmental protection…
Currently at the centre of societal and individual concerns, the environmental question is also very important for a sector that depends completely on it.
- Farmers are perceived (59%) as producers who fully take into account effects on the environment (59%) and are concerned about respecting biodiversity (58%)
- 59% of those surveyed consider that crops are produced in an ethical manner. Only 37% held this opinion in 2015, for an improvement of +22 points! Inversely, the number of respondents who think that their objective is to produce above all fell by 26%.
And were pleasantly surprised about initiatives of which they were unaware
- 80% didn’t know that the agricultural sector collects and recycles more waste than current arrangements for household waste. 68% were positively surprised!
- 85% didn’t know that farmers sowed more than 300,000 km in strips of “buffer” grass to protect the waterways near their fields
- 68% learned that 90% of cows’ food is produced on the farm and that these herds are moderately sized, with 45 cows on average (67%)
- 66% were surprised to learn that, with the help of robots, cows go to be milked when they feel the need, which further improves their well-being
What the French don’t know about agriculture in their country… and what worries them
- There are 437,000 farms in France, a number that fell by half over the last 20 years. There will likely be only 200,000 by 2040. 72% of French respondents were not aware of this, and 54% found this situation worrisome.
- Many also found it worrisome that 1 out of 2 fruits and vegetables consumed in France is imported (57%). And, moreover, that 1/4 of imported agricultural products do not meet minimum French health standards (59%)
In conclusion, while stating a preference for local products (80%), the French are highly in favour (78%) of food sovereignty for their country.
Aware (54%) that farmers’ wages have fallen in recent years, 73% of respondents said they would be willing to pay a few cents more to have access to French products in the future.
Crédit Agricole-Agridemain-BVA survey on the image of agriculture among the French
1,209 people, constituting a representative sample of the French metropolitan population of 18 years and +, were questioned by BVA via an online survey from 13 to 21 April 2021. Method of quotas: sex, age, head of family’s socio-professional category, region of residence and category of urban community. Farmers excluded.
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