Bourg-lès-Valence (France) (AFP)

"I sold two or three trucks of droppings today": on the stand where are exposed granules of poultry droppings, blood meal or feather, the seller of organic fertilizer rubs his hands, business work well.

At the Tech and Bio trade show, an international trade show for organic and alternative techniques held every two years in Bourg-les-Valence (Drôme), chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not welcome.

While the debate on non-treatment areas (ZNT) threatens to turn sour between urban and farmers, the exhibition organized by the Chambers of Agriculture says it wants to gather all forms of agriculture to be a showcase of the agroecology encouraged by the public authorities.

It is attended by 40% of visitors engaged in the organic sector, the remaining 60% coming from the conventional sector, explains Pierre Combat, vice president of the Chamber of Agriculture of Drôme.

All seek to suppress or reduce the doses of chemicals used to eradicate plant pests, while maintaining their production yields and the biodiversity of nature around them.

All are trying to strengthen plants against drought. All would like to improve soil fertility or weeding by doing without chemistry.

The living room is full of "circular" models reusing agricultural by-products, old peasant idea brought up to date with the help of technology.

On the stand of the company Naturosol from Drôme, the granule naturo is composed of meat flour, bone powder, feather flour and silk and beet vinasse. It is used to feed the soils with nitrogen and phosphorus and is allowed in organic farming.

These products are made from squaring or slaughterhouses, burned, heated, to remove bacteria while maintaining nutritional values ​​to stimulate root growth of plants.

"In the old days, Saint-Chinian or Hérault vines were fertilized with manure from sheep in the Roquefort zone, woolen fillets or sheep chiquettes", small pieces of leather rejected by the tanneries, explains a Frayssinet manager. This family-run SME from Tarn is the French leader in organic fertilization of processed products, composts or pellets, 80% of which can be used in organic farming.

- High tech support -

France, which has 7.5% of its organic surface area, aims to reach 15% by 2022.

A difficult goal for those who are worried about the financial disengagement of the state. "We must work seriously, we can not say bio, ecology, and be two years behind the payment of bio aid," said the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region Laurent Wauquiez to AFP.

"Not impossible to hold" retorted Minister Didier Guillaume to AFP.

His firm emphasizes that payments of aid are now 98% complete for 2016, 85% for 2017 and 75% for 2018.

"More and more people are signing up, we have 4,000 more organic farms this year, things are changing very fast and high technologies are helping bio," added the minister.

For weeding without glyphosate, the imagination is in power. From robots to hot-water weeders to optical camera cultivators to horse-drawn clippers or a solar-powered trolley where employees work lying down to weed rows of salad ... by hand.

Crédit Agricole has also launched this year, for the first time in all of France, a credit offer specifically for organic farmers, providing for a deferral of repayment and a cash credit.

"Our conviction is that agriculture is in a phase of profound transition," said AFP Didier Reboul, director of agriculture, agribusiness and specialty markets at Credit Agricole. The Bank has trained its advisers on the organic transition.

© 2019 AFP