Accepted Paper:

PGI "Canard à foie gras du Sud-Ouest": an agricultural sector in motion to protect a regional tradition  


Frédéric Duhart (Mondragon University )

Paper short abstract:

Duck foie gras was born in Southwest France (18th century). In the 1990s, local producers decided to obtain a PGI to protect their tradition. I consider the ways they used to take into account the existence of quite different groups of interests: small farmers, industrials, subregion defenders, etc.

Paper long abstract:

The world famous duck foie gras was born in Southwest France during the eighteenth century. Since that time, this region is still to be the worldwide leader in force-fed duck production. At the end of the twentieth century, the foie gras duck sector was quite significant in the regional agricultural economy. Consequently, increased competition from new production areas quickly became a major concern for the main actors of this sector. In the 1990s, they decided to organise themselves to protect their traditional products, especially avoiding the fraudulent use of references to the name of their region and of its prestigious subregions: Perigord, Landes, Gers, etc. They considered the best solution to their problem was the obtention of a Protected Geographic Indication - a recently created legal instrument. In 2010, their wish came true.

The construction process of the PGI "Canard à foie gras du Sud-Ouest" was largely an effort to find sustainable and consensual solutions to problems that could appear insolvable at first glance, because the existence of interests that were different and apparently extremely divergent. The production and the processing of force-fed ducks were, at the same time, in the hands of small independent farmers-canners and of giant integrated groups. Part of the subregions had a quite strong identity and traditionally competed with the other ones. Various ways of breeding or processing the ducks were in use, etc. The promotors of the PGI tried to find appropriate responses, taking into account as much as possible the interests of each group.

Panel LL-FWF01
Foodways in motion: food sovereignty, producer movements and living traditions