After years of decline, French lavender is staging a recovery. From 2010 to 2016, cultivated land has expanded by around 40 % to 53,000 hectares (130,000 acres). The number of producers has expanded from 1,000 to approximately 1,400 and France now additionally has 120 distilleries of lavender oil and lavandin. However, France has to contend with competition from Bulgaria.
Thanks to the increasing reputation of aromatherapies, French lavender is staging a revival from years of decline introduced on by bacterial infestations. Perfume plants that may also be utilized in cosmetics, medicines and household products are the only crop in France whose cover is increasing, notes Laurent Quadrio of the regional Drôme agriculture organization. They still represent a small fraction of the country’s millions of hectares of cultivated land, however, have increased from 2010 to 2016 by around 40 % to 53,000 hectares (130,000 acres), while cropland usually is being bitten away by spreading urban areas.
The producers have grown from 1,000 to around 1,400, and France now also has 120 distilleries.
Oil from lavender dedicated for perfumes, aromatherapy and cosmetics sells for around 100 to 150 euros ($110-$170) a kilo, while lavandin, utilized in detergents and soaps, bought last year for 28-40 euros, which was nonetheless an increase of 20 % from the earlier year and 30 % over the previous five years, Aubanel says. However, France now has to take care of Bulgaria, which became the world leader in conventional lavender production last year and is pointing for a file crop in 2019, he mentions.
With Bulgaria intending to produce 600 tonnes this year, double its output in 2018, it’ll surpass French production by five occasions. Instead of trying to race on volume or cast, French farmers intend to produce a higher quality product.