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INRA and Avril sign a framework agreement at the 2016 International Agricultural Show in Paris. © INRA

Avril and INRA combine forces to better respond to the future challenges facing French and global agriculture

The two partners have signed a framework agreement on human foods, animal feeds and the green chemistry of renewable carbon, the shared objective being to place farming and food systems in the context of sustainable and economically viable development.

Updated on 04/12/2016
Published on 03/03/2016

On the occasion of the Paris International Agricultural Show, the Avril Group and INRA have announced their signature of a framework agreement on the development of their collaboration.

This agreement aims in particular to enrich their reciprocal understanding of the common challenges faced by the two partners, to foster innovation, reinforce their international networks and skills and improve their ability to respond to the challenges faced by French and global agriculture during the coming years.

Indeed, agriculture will have to be able to ensure the food and nutritional security of France and the world, respond to the growing demand for biosourced products to be used for energy, chemistry and materials, and supply ecosystem services that will encourage the long-term preservation and sustainable use of natural resources.  It will also need to maintain the incomes of farmers, foster territorial development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

In light of these challenges, the framework agreement defines the priorities retained by the partners, and the organizational principles and modalities to implement their collaborations, with the shared objective of placing farming and food systems within the context of sustainable competitiveness.

These ambitions have long been shared, in the same way as existing collaborations between INRA and Avril through the latter's finance arm, Sofiprotéol, with respect to the continuing improvement of seed resources for oilseed and protein crops.

3 priority areas:
•    Human food and nutrition: Avril and INRA will focus their collaborative efforts on exploiting sources of vegetable protein (notably protein-rich plants), the quality of foods and ingredients (notably oils, sauces, mayonnaise, eggs and egg products and vegetable proteins) and human nutrition.
•    Livestock feeds: the partners will focus on developing precision nutrition by designing nutrigenomic and metagenomic approaches to study the gut microbiota. Their collaborations will also concern new raw materials for livestock feeds, and the links between animal diets, animal health and the quality of animal products.  
•    Green chemistry of renewable carbon: collaborations between the partners will focus on the generation and transformation of renewable carbon to enable the design of biosourced production systems for energy, chemicals or materials.  

As well as these areas, Avril and INRA will also initiate exchanges on their respective foresight activities, notably linked to the prospects and evolutions seen in global markets.  The partners will also consider innovative forms of collaboration through the introduction of industrial Chairs or staff mobility programs.

In the context of their agreement, Avril and INRA will determine the research and R&D needs relative to the priority areas they have identified and included in their respective strategies.  Working together, the partners will also strive to develop international collaborations.  

Implementation and monitoring of the framework agreement will be assured by a joint strategic steering committee with members from both Avril and INRA.

"Thanks to its deliberate policies on innovation and constant support for research, notably through its finance arm Sofiprotéol, Avril has succeeded in building a model for sustainable value creation which has a national and international reputation", commented Jean-Philippe PUIG, CEO of Avril. "Through this agreement, the Group aims to pursue its vocation to address the major challenges that face our planet, whether this involves supporting the fundamental feeding function of agriculture or making a sustainable contribution to energy transitions and the development of renewable chemistry."

"I am delighted by signature of this agreement with Avril, which has been, and remains, an important partner for INRA", declared François HOULLIER, President of INRA.  "This agreement concerns several of the important research areas to which our Institute has been committed for many years, such as human foods and nutrition, animal feeds, or green chemistry and renewable carbon.  As well as working on these research themes, I am particularly pleased that working with Avril we shall be committing to new types of collaborative efforts, such as foresight studies.  This signature testifies to our ability to interact with a wide variety of partners and situate our work on an innovation trajectory so that we can respond to the major challenges of agriculture, food and the environment."

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About the Avril Group:
Set up in 1983 at the initiative of French farmers in order to assure the future of the vegetable oils and proteins sector, Avril has become a major industrial and financial group that continues to develop in France and internationally.  
Present in sectors as diverse as human foods and animal feeds, renewable energies and chemistry, Avril owns a portfolio of strong brands that are leaders in their markets: Diester®, Sanders, Lesieur, Puget, Matines, Bunica, Taous, etc.
In more than 30 years, the Group has changed in size but its purpose has remained the same: to create sustainable value in the vegetable oils and proteins sector while contributing to better foods for humans and preservation of the planet.  
To fulfill its mission, Avril draws strength from its industrial activities organized around different plant and animal sectors, and from its financial arm which operates through Sofiprotéol, the finance and development company.  
Sofiprotéol can offer long-term support for companies in these sectors and, more generally, those involved in French agribusiness, notably in order to consolidate their equity capital in the context of development or investment operations designed to enhance their competitiveness.  
From credit to equity, the finance solutions proposed by Sofiprotéol are based on an industrial and entrepreneurial approach to supporting development and innovation at all levels in agribusiness and agrifood sectors: from agricultural production upstream (seeds, genetics, agricultural supplies, etc.) to downstream (industrial and agrifood sectors), not forgetting grain elevator operators and first-stage processors.
In 2015, the Avril Group achieved turnover worth €6.1 billion.  It counts 7200 employees working in 22 countries.
For more information: www.groupeavril.com | www.sofiproteol.com | Twitter: @Avril
About INRA:
INRA is a Public Scientific and Technical Research Establishment (EPST) that is present throughout France via its 17 research centers and 13 research divisions working in the production, dissemination and exploitation of scientific knowledge resulting from agricultural research.  
In the fields of agriculture, food and the environment, INRA is a major international research actor, notably in terms of the number of its publications and citations, where it ranks second in the world in the fields of agriculture and food, and fourth in plant and animal sciences.  INRA is also amongst the leading institutions in the world for its work in microbiology, ecology and environmental sciences.