• Reduce text

    Reduce text
  • Restore text size

    Restore text size
  • Increase the text

    Increase the text
  • Print


Regional governance modes for the coexistence of GM and non-GM crops

The management of GM crops questions the governance modes of agricultural regions, notably regarding the cohabitation of actors who adopt different strategies. Indeed, how can the well-being of a non-GM farmer be preserved alongside another who has chosen to grow this type of crop? Within the agri-food industry, collection and storage agencies for seeds or agricultural crops occupy a strategic position as both the suppliers and customers of farmers. A study was carried out jointly by the INRA Joint Research Unit Science for Action and Sustainable Development: Activities, Products, Territories (SAD-APT) and the Université de Versailles-St. Quentin LAREQUOI, focused on how actors with similar strategies can organise themselves to manage the presence or absence of GM maize crops in a region.

Updated on 03/06/2013
Published on 02/14/2012

The question of the coexistence of GM/non-GM crops has impacted the organisation of sectors at the scale of French farming regions. Collection and storage agencies (ECS) have been forced to develop their own organisational methods and to adopt appropriate co-opetition strategies. For example, for reasons of public interest and in order to segregate GM/non-GM maize crops, ECS set up their own institutional systems while at the same time preserving competitive relationships in their markets.

In this context of this study, the region was considered to be a good common to all ECS, as a productive resource and the site of their local roots. The preservation of regional advantages supposes that ECS deploy collective management, notably through the development of cooperative relationships between competing actors. According to an altruistic approach, this co-opetition strategy must benefit all users of a region. As a true social institution, co-opetition indeed supposes socially accepted rules which form the basis for social order.

This set of contrary forces (competition/co-opetition), linked to a specific system of interactions, is rendered possible by the implementation of collective management tools and formal (discussion bodies, professional unions, etc.) or informal (tacit agreements, social pressure to conform, etc.) mediation forums. During the study, the nature of these interactions, and the levels at which they occur (individuals, economic and agricultural organisation of sectors, region) were interpreted and analysed in light of the individual experiences collected, and the observations and understanding of the researchers. To prevent any bias, a triangulation process was applied to the data (contextualisation, comparison with archive data, validation by external experts).

At the scale of an agricultural region in France, a classification can be made of different types of co-opetition. This takes account of mechanisms for the coordination and administration of interactions between co-opetitors. Thus, in Alsace, the agricultural sector has structured itself to refuse the cultivation of GM maize. The ECS have organised themselves to obtain the bonuses for a guarantee of purity and non-GM status. In south-western France, the ECS have drawn up rules that are imposed upon operators both upstream and downstream: management of production areas through the creation of a common database to prevent any mixing at harvest. In the same region, some small areas of production have been developed that are specific to particular crops. If coordination fails, all companies will market a mixture, given the impossibility of guaranteeing the purity of all crops. Finally, in the Rhône-Alpes region, it is the Chamber of Agriculture, as an external mediator, that has allowed companies to organise and structure themselves.

All these actor strategies have enabled the generation of scenarios for the organisation of different regions thanks to the computer model developed in the context of the ANR-OGM MASCOTE programme (Modelling of the Spatial Allocation of GM Crops in the Region), and the measurement of the risks of mixing that are inherent to different types of co-opetition.

François-Christophe COLENO (01 44 08 72 38), Mourad HANNACHI (01 44 08 72 38)
Associated Division(s):
Science for Action and Development
Associated Centre(s):

En savoir plus

  • Mourad HANNACHI, La coopétition au service du bien commun : les stratégies des Entreprises de Collecte et de Stockage de céréales face aux OGM, Inra, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, Thèse soutenue publiquement le 14/04/2011, Paris, 302 pages.
  • Mourad HANNACHI, François-Christophe COLENO, Christophe ASSENS, « La collaboration entre concurrents pour gérer le bien commun : le cas des entreprises de collecte et de stockage de céréales d’Alsace, Gérer et comprendre, Septembre 2010, n°101, p. 16-25.Contacts :