Over 100 businesses from Normandy are at the Paris International Agricultural Show, one of the biggest in the world that takes place in the Agricultural exhibition centre in the capital city until Sunday 02 March.
Many are hoping it will help to boost business at a time when the industry is losing 15% of direct aid due to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
â€˜Normandy is losing more than the average across France. The economic outlook is morose,â€™ said Daniel Genissel, president of the Normandy regional chamber of agriculture. He added that a lot of jobs depend on the sector with one in five jobs in Lower Normandy connected to agriculture.
â€˜Last yearâ€™s show attracted 700,000 visitors. This can help boost awareness but it comes at a cost with a 12 square meter stand for the week at â‚¬9,000. There are also fewer Norman products on show, some 392 compared with 430 in 2013. Some exhibitors have tried to reduce costs by sharing stands,â€™ he added.
This includes producers from Jersey. The island has signed a three year partnership with the Manche General Council to share a stand after the success of a sharing scheme last year.
â€˜Weâ€™re delighted to have been invited to form an alliance with La Manche to attend one of Franceâ€™s most prestigious agricultural shows. Working with the General Council accentuates and builds on our existing political, economic and cultural links with Normandy. This in turn fosters relationships at a regional and national level and demonstrates the Islandâ€™s broad links with and commitment to France,â€™ said Sir Philip Bailache, Jerseyâ€™s Minister for External Relations.
Assistant Minister for the Economy and the Environment, Carolyn Labey, is leading the Jersey delegation. â€˜This is a significant event in the French calendar, attracting nearly three quarters of a million visitors last year. So, in addition to building relationships with our Manche counterparts, itâ€™s also a fantastic business opportunity for Jersey,â€™ she said.
â€˜A number of producers are attending along with tourism and transport representatives. They will help us showcase the range and quality of some of our most iconic products through videos, tastings and promotional materials, and highlight what Jersey can offer as a tourism destination in one of our closest major markets,â€™ she added.
Normandyâ€™s farm animals are represented in almost all the exhibition halls with cereal producers in hall 2.2, pigs and sheep in hall 7.1, horses and donkeys in hall six, and cows in hall three.