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France - ARD country profile

France - ARD country profile

France - ARD country profile

Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) is an integral part of public development aid and meets French political objectives as well as the international agenda in the current global context of economic and food insecurity. It is related to the national research policy, defined by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR), along with the Ministry for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Affairs and Land Use Planning (MAAPRAT), and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE).

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Key ARD objectives

French ARD targets are in line with international commitments (Millennium Development Goals, Global Partnerships for Agriculture and Food Security) and French development cooperation policy: food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction.


French ARD is mainly conducted by four research organisations. The Ministry of Higher Education and Research primarily funds ARD in France and also determines the national research policy. Yet the Commission for International Agricultural Research (CRAI) - which is made up of members from various government ministries and research organisations - is the official representative for France on issues of ARD.

Main ARD budget and beneficiaries for 2010


Ministry of Higher Education and Research € 197,000,000
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs € 9,500,000
Ministry for Agriculture, Food Fisheries, Rural affairs and Land Use Planning € 11,800,000
Agropolis Fondation € 4,000,000


CIRAD € 126,300,000
IRD € 70,000,000
CGIAR grant (1,5 million €) plus scientist secondment (4,5 million €) € 6,000,000
Priority Solidarity Fund (FSP) € 5,000,000
Technical assistance to NARS € 4,000,000
Research and training in agriculture, food science and engineering for tropical countries € 9,000,000
Centre national du machinisme agricole du génie rural, des eaux et des forêts (Cemagref) € 2,000,000

ARD landscape

CRAI contributes to defining positions, designing ARD strategies based on a ‘for the South, with the South, in the South’ approach, and coordinating French actions. It is made up of representatives of the three government ministries involved in ARD, along with CIRAD (Centre de coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement), INRA (Institut National de Recherche Agronomique), IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement), Cemagref (Institut de recherche en sciences et technologie pour l’environnement), Agreenium and the Agropolis International cluster. CRAI also represents France in specialised international agricultural institutions (CGIAR, EFARD, EIARD, SCAR).

CIRAD conducts joint operations with more than 90 countries, mostly from the South, and contributes to development through research in partnership, training, information dissemination, innovation and appraisals. IRD prioritises research into food security, sustainable management of ecosystems, natural hazards, climate change and coastal waters to assist the economic, social and cultural development of Southern countries. Cemagref conducts targeted research on land and water management. Meanwhile INRA conducts basic and targeted research in Agriculture, Nutrition and the Environment, contributing to ARD by its research on global issues, its involvement in joint research projects, and its Centre in the French West Indies.

Agreenium (French Consortium for research and education in agriculture, food, animal health, and the environment) is a public scientific institution gathering INRA, CIRAD, AgroParisTech, Agrocampus Ouest, Montpellier SupAgro and the National Veterinary School of Toulouse. Agreenium mandate is to build an integrated French research and higher education offer in agro-sciences and to promote it internationally.

In addition to government Ministries, several agencies such as the National Research Agency (ANR) fund research actions including partnership with the South. The AFD (Agence Française de Développement) funds French cooperation in agricultural development projects that may include research activities. An inter-organisation funding agency (Agence inter-établissements de recherche pour le développement - AIRD) targets additional support to research for development (including ARD) through French research organisations and their partners.

Main ARD programmes

  1. FSP (Priority Solidarity Fund) supports multiyear grants to 54 countries in Africa, the Arab world, Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean. Priorities include sustainable development and environment, agricultural research and rural development, scientific partnerships, and strengthening of national and regional research potential.
  2. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) received in 2010, €1.5 million as grant plus an estimated €4.5 million as scientist secondments from CIRAD, IRD, Cemagref and the Ministry for Agriculture. CIRAD and IRD are also involved in the construction and implementation of several CGIAR Research Programs, mobilising more than 200 French scientists.
  3. Agropolis International is a scientific cluster, located in Montpellier, promoting French scientific expertise in the fields of agriculture, food, biodiversity, and environment. It also links with tropical and Mediterranean areas, monitoring partnerships and facilitating joint projects with the major international, European or national organisations involved in Southern countries development.
  4. Agropolis Fondation is a grant-making foundation, with an annual funding commitment of €4 million to promote interdisciplinary research and higher education, international research partnerships in agricultural sciences and sustainable development.


France’s general ARD objectives and geographic focus have been defined for the next few years, the thematic agenda will be influenced by climate change and global issues. The trend in ARD towards interdisciplinary approaches and increased international collaboration will extend, enabling a rapid and targeted response to emerging themes by pooling resources in a more flexible way. This trend is likely to be reinforced by the location of the CGIAR Headquarters in Agropolis International, Montpellier, and by the propositions made by the G20 in 2011 under the French presidency.

This country profile has been commissioned by EIARD (the permanent ARD coordination platform between the European Commission, Member States of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland) as part of a series providing an overview of policies and support for agricultural research for development by EIARD member countries. EIARD is not responsible for any omissions and inaccuracies contained within this document and the information is only correct up to the date of publishing (August 2011).