3 min

Press report - Organic farming: towards a radical change of scale

PRESS REPORT - While the European Union is committed to devoting at least 25% of agricultural land to organic farming by 2030, how can we support the change in scale of this production? How to move to 50% or even more organic world production tomorrow? At INRAE, organic farming has long been a subject of research. This press kit illustrates both the diversity of dimensions to consider, the obstacles and levers to be worked on and the results, already achieved or in the process of being obtained, which should be brought together to respond to the problem of change in scale of organic farming.

Published on 28 February 2022

illustration Press report - Organic farming: towards a radical change of scale
© Adobe Stock

“Organic” agriculture is often defined by default as a mode of production that renounces inputs of chemical origin, as opposed to so-called “conventional” agriculture. But organic farming is more than that: it is a comprehensive system of agricultural management and food production combining supply of food, protection of the environment, respect for animal welfare and rural development, thanks to methods based on respect for biological and ecological balances. It is backed by a certification, the famous AB label, and it is strongly oriented by the expectations of consumers... who are more than ever "consum'actors" as it is true that societal demand is changing the lines of farms, sectors and distribution. According to Agence Bio, in 2020, more than 9 out of 10 French people say they have consumed products from organic farming during the year, 13% even say they consume them every day!

At INRAE, organic farming has long been a subject of research. Our institute is today the one that publishes the most scientific articles in the world in the field of organic farming. It owes it to pioneering researchers who, from the 1980s, launched initiatives on the subject. Today, a meta-research program, involving all disciplines and all INRAE ​​departments, is underway. Named METABIO, it explores the hypothesis where the national supply of organic products would become the majority. Extensive (meta)program! Indeed, a global agriculture at 50% or more would require no less than a radical change in the entire agri-food chain.

Such a working hypothesis raises new research questions.


peruse the press report




  1. From field to fork: whole-system health and product quality under the microscope
  2. Potential keys to a successful transition
  3. Looking for multi-performance from organic farming



Press conference replay (French only)

  • With the introduction of Philippe Mauguin, CEO of INRAE;
  • Claire Jouany (10'50") and Lionel Alletto (14'50"), talk about the diversification of organic crops to deal with the problem of mineral resources;
  • Followed by Sophie Prache (19'30"), addressing the issue of the quality of organic vs. conventional products;
  • And Eric Giraud-Heraud (28'50"), who explains the importance of the consumer's willingness to pay for organic wines;
  • Finally, Françoise Médale (35'50"), director of the INRAE ​​Metabio metaprogramme, concludes these presentations of researchers;
  • This is followed by a question-and-answer session (40'20") with the journalists, in the presence of Servane Penvern, agricultural engineer in charge of coordinating the Metabio metaprogramme, and Cécile Détang-Dessendre, Deputy Director of Agriculture at INRAE.

Learn more


Innovative grape varieties to revitalise vineyards

The first disease-resistant grapevines (Vitis vinifera) are now available, making it possible to reduce vineyard fungicide treatments by over 90%. Research and innovation are continuing to meet the challenges: new consumer expectations on the final quality of wine and table grape products; the agroecological transitioning of vineyards by minimising the use of crop protection products and fertilisers; adaptation to climate change, the effects of which are already very noticeable in most wine-producing regions, and participation in mitigating this change. Read on for a retrospective of an adventure anchored in long-term partnerships.

21 May 2021


Combining agroecological practices to sustain bird communities in vineyards

PRESS RELEASE - The intensification of agricultural practices and the disappearance of semi-natural habitats have led to a general decline in bird communities in European agricultural landscapes. Their conservation is becoming critical, including in wine-growing regions, for the essential services they provide to farmers, such as pest control, but also for their cultural significance. An international team coordinated by INRAE, also involving Bordeaux Sciences Agro and the Ecole supérieure d’agricultures (ESA), studied the bird communities of 334 vineyards in 12 wine-growing regions in France, Spain and Italy. Their results, published in the June 2021 issue of Journal of Applied Ecology, show that the diversity of bird communities is enhanced by the combination of organic viticulture, grass cover in vine inter-rows and the diversity of habitats within the surrounding landscape (forest, hedges, meadows, etc.).

11 May 2021


Organic dairy farms resilient in the face of COVID-19 crisis

A team of researchers from the Joint Research Unit for AGroecology, Innovations and teRritories (AGIR) working on farm resilience at the INRAE Occitanie-Toulouse center looked at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on French organic dairy cattle farms and supply chains. Their study, published in the journal Agricultural Systems on February 3, 2021, analyzes the features of farms and commodity chains that promoted their resilience to the crisis.

26 February 2021