Towards a Sustainable and Prosperous Agriculture – Planning an Ambitious Transformation of the Sector

The Shift Project is launching a project aimed at envisioning the transformation of the French agricultural system to address the physical constraints that condition it and to analyze the socio-economic challenges raised by these issues.

This initial project will be followed by a broader “Food” reflection, incorporating the entire agri-food system and all aspects “from farm to fork.” This reflection is itself part of a larger “Biomass” program.

Amid vulnerabilities and imperatives, the agricultural sector faces multiple challenges. While the imperative for the transformation of the agricultural sector is increasingly documented, there is no consensus on the methods to achieve this transformation, including the goals to be achieved, the trajectory to be taken, and the means to be deployed.

By its very nature, the agricultural sector is highly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change and faces numerous accumulating difficulties that weaken it. Yet, society demands additional efforts from it. The multiplication of these demands is perceived by the sector’s stakeholders as an accumulation of constraints for which the rewards are insufficient to support an already crisis-ridden sector. As a result, the change in the agricultural and agri-food model faces significant resistance.


Objective 1: Quantitatively assess the current and future physical constraints faced by the agricultural sector

This assessment aims to provide a detailed quantification of the physical constraints weighing on the system and to highlight the economic, social, and political issues that must be considered. It will aim to reflect the state of the science regarding the ecological transition of agriculture, without aiming to settle all debates or close the discussion.

Building on existing scientific work by organizations that have conducted in-depth studies, this work will aim to complement the discussion with additional analysis and insights in collaboration with these stakeholders.

Objective 2: Establish a constructive dialogue with and among agricultural sector actors

The debate on the transition of the agricultural and food system is currently highly charged and passionate, leaving little room for an objective framing of the issues and perspectives.

The Shift Project aims to provide an objective framework for the dialogue without ignoring the sector’s multiple challenges, seeking to foster consensus among stakeholders. It will be essential to involve as many stakeholders in the agricultural sector as possible in order to consult them and allow them to participate in the formulation of findings, proposals, and deliverables.

Objective 3: Propose pathways towards a decarbonized and resilient agriculture

The project will aim to offer a systemic vision, placing food and agri-food systems within a “non-negotiable” physical framework (energy, climate, biodiversity, water), presenting the various policy options (food sovereignty, economic sustainability, health) separately while seeking the resilience of these systems and paying close attention to various interconnections (energy, biomass, soils).

Particular attention will be given to employment and training issues, as well as the role of technological innovation in these transformations.

Objective 4: Produce and promote operational and robust messages to engage in these pathways and have a lasting impact

The work conducted will lead to recommendations as concrete as possible, addressed to all relevant actors from the local to the European level, developed with and tested among the concerned stakeholders. These recommendations will be widely disseminated throughout the agricultural sector’s entire ecosystem.


– Duration: 18 months

– Start: July 2023

– Intermediate Publication: June 6, 2024

– Final Report Publication: November 7, 2024

Project Team

– Project Leader: Céline Corpel

– Project Engineer: Corentin Biardeau-Noyers

– Project Coordination: Clémence Vorreux


Clémence Vorreux, project coordination