Rice Production in France
France offers a unique kind of rice cultivation, situated mainly within the southern Camargue Region, defined by the wetlands of the delta of the River Rhône – 13 (SOUTH Region), and shared between the Departments of Bouches du Rhône and Gard – 30 (OCCITANIE Region).
Several hectares are also cultivated in the Department of Aude (11).
The Camargue Region benefits from a fresh supply of water from the River Rhône and a privileged climate, with limited temperature variations, lots of sun, and the characteristic wind, the Mistral, which travels down the Rhône Valley from the north.
Rice cultivation in the Camargue Region plays a fundamental role at a European level, for the sustainable production of this precious cereal.
The geographical area of Camargue Rice – which, since 2000, has been a certified Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) – covers an area shared partly by the Department of Bouches du Rhône and partly by the Department of Gard.
In 2021, rice cultivation covered an area of 11,800 hectares, producing around 70,000 tons of rice.
There are 180 rice farmers operating in the area, 90% of which dedicated to the cultivation of PGI Camargue Rice. The rice is produced both conventionally and organically, with as much as 25% of the area devoted to organic agriculture. All the farmers are committed to the ‘Rice Farmers Charter for Environmental Protection and Production Quality’.
Every year, around 160 rice growers undertake to comply with the PGI Camargue Rice specification, agreeing to all of its required checks, monitoring and analysis.
Rice produced in the Camargue Region accounts for 30% of national consumption, 98% of French production, and 2% of European production.
The rice-growing business in the Camargue Region creates nearly 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The products are sold not only in specialist delicatessens and organic shops, but also in supermarkets. The yellow and blue European PGI logo clearly identifies rice produced, controlled and analysed in the Camargue Region.
The French consume approximately 4.5 kg of rice per capita per year.