Agriculture / Agribusiness

Plant Innovation Cluster Vegepolys Valley: 679 Members & €2.2 Billion in Investments Since 2019

France’s Vegepolys Valley is the fourth largest competitive cluster in the country in terms of members, with 679 actors from the plant sector — from genetics to products — innovating for a more competitive, qualitative, environmentally, and health-friendly agriculture.

Flavie Delattre, the new president of Vegepolys Valley, told La Tribune in an interview that in 2023 alone, the membership count saw a substantial increase with the addition of 130 new players (reaching 645), indicating a genuine commitment to advancing plant-based innovation, even amid challenging circumstances.

The cluster’s operations are implemented across four French historical regions — Pays de la Loire, Auvergne Rhône Alpes, Bretagne, and Centre Val de Loire.

The members’ profiles are diverse, encompassing a range of plant-related companies, including VSEs/SMEs, startups, large corporations, research institutes, and training organizations. Notably, 79% of these entities are companies, of which 80% are SMEs. This year, the cluster has welcomed 34 new members, including Barrault Horticulture and Label Verte.

hands holding soy on a farm
© sima – stock.adobe.com

Plants in the economic sector

Since its inception in 2019, arising as a merger of the Vegepolys and Céréales Vallée, the cluster has labeled or supported over 1,000 projects across nine technological areas, including plant health, urban plants, and human and animal food, with a total investment of €2.2 billion. To date, 511 of these projects have secured funding, totaling €926 million. In addition, the organization manages various activities, such as webinars and consumer meetings, throughout the year.

The cluster relies on its networks and expertise regarding European projects to support its members worldwide. In 2023, the cluster partnered in 11 projects and supported 26 others, a significant increase from 8 and 4 projects, respectively, in 2022. These initiatives received €9.6 million in European funding. Meanwhile, other projects are ongoing in Japan and Africa.

Flavie Delaterre
Flavie Delaterre © Circuits Culture

Challenges for the sector

According to Delattre, collaboration between researchers, engineers, and farmers is crucial for progress and overcoming challenges ranging from food security and agroecology to market competitiveness and sustainability. In addition, climate-related events, such as droughts and floods, which harm crops and infrastructure, need quick solutions and long-term planning.

In the interview, she also emphasized the urgent need for technical and technological innovations and highlighted the impact of geopolitical issues like the war in Ukraine and Gaza on trade. Inflation also affects the sector, while citizens demand solid environmental actions.

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