It is the first university chair in France entirely dedicated to organic agriculture. It has just been launched within the walls of Bordeaux Sciences Agro, together with the University of Bordeaux, the University Foundation of Bordeaux and Inrae (National Institute for Research in Agriculture, Food and the Environment). Twelve sponsors, representing intermediaries from field to plate, are associated with this new research group, including Aquitabio, Agribio Union, Biocoop Gironde, BioLandes, Château Canon, Corab, the Syndicat des vignerons bio d’Aquitaine, Péchalou and Qualisud. Bordeaux Sciences Agro would like to gather around twenty in total.
The chair will work on the issues faced by organic agriculture, mainly around the issues of soil fertilization, production conditions with climate change and an increase in the productive share in relation to the so-called conventional agriculture. Sponsors and university actors will take the initiative to launch academic research units, technological research and development and a scientific monitoring system. The restitution of the work will be done in the form of an annual seminar. The presidency set a budget, still changing, of 150,000 euros a year to hire two people to lead and publicize the results. It is funded by university partners and donations from patrons.
“This course is mainly the initiative of two of our professors-researchers. Organic agriculture is an integral part of our agronomy education and our establishment’s strategy.“, mentioned in the introduction Sabine Brun-Rageul, director of Bordeaux Sciences Agro.
“Sometimes you have to create “abnormal” conditions for things to move forward. That’s what we’re trying to do with this chair. We’re going to need science to validate all the forms of innovation that we’re going to have to be able to“, added Eric Macé, vice president responsible for environmental transitions at the University of Bordeaux.
Isabelle Masneuf-Pomarede and Thomas Nesme, professors of enology and agronomy respectively, are the co-holders of this chair. “We would like it to offer the conditions for dialogue and meeting between professors, researchers and private organic actors.“they invited. Governance will be organized into two major committees: a steering committee led by the presidency staff and patrons, as well as a strategic steering committee managed by academic representatives.
Bio in decline
This one “pioneer chair” is launched with the opening of the European Congress of Organic Agriculture in Bordeaux on June 16. With two days of meetings and exchanges, the sector’s actors will address the challenges of the future, but also the current turmoil experienced by the organic sector. , the The war in Ukraine and rising inflation are reducing the purchasing power of consumers who are increasingly moving away from organic products, which are more expensive, as evidenced by producers struggling to sell their products. 3.9%, consumption of organic products fell for the first time in eight years.
Although the Bordeaux Sciences Agro chair is particularly dedicated to production issues, Thomas Nesme, its co-holder, recognizes this: “Production quantities cannot be dissociated from consumption quantities and market weight. They are perhaps even more linked in the biological system than in the conventional system.“