AVRIL and EURALIS inaugurate SOJALIM, a crushing unit for French soybean grain in the south-west

AVRIL and EURALIS inaugurate SOJALIM, a crushing unit for French soybean grain in the south-west


An investment worth €3.65 million designed to develop a 100% French soybean sector in the south-west of the country, and thus secure supplies of sustainable, high-quality, French vegetable protein for livestock production in the region (cattle, pigs, poultry)..

At Vic-en-Bigorre (Haute Pyrénées), the AVRIL and EURALIS Groups inaugurated a soybean crushing unit called SOJALIM, in the presence of Vincent Labarthe, Vice-President of the Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée Regional Council, who represented the Region’s President, Carole Delga.  Production started in July 2017, and this new industrial tool represents a major step towards developing a 100% French soybean sector.

Just this year, SOJALIM will be processing 25,000 tonnes of French soybean (5000 tonnes of them grown organically), the aim being to secure supplies of 100% French vegetable proteins for livestock production sectors in south-west France.

These new facilities and their innovative grain dehulling process thus offer a local, traceable, non-GMO alternative to imported soybean, mainly from Brazil.

SOJALIM is based at the SANDERS-EURALIS cattle feed manufacturing site in Vic-en-Bigorre, which will be utilizing some of the oilseed meal, hulls and oils it generates. Another share of SOJALIM’s production will be shipped to the SANDERS-EURALIS unit in Lons (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). Both these SANDERS-EURALIS facilities will supply poultry, pig and ruminant breeders throughout the region.

A durable sector developed with all actors involved

Born of AVRIL’s desire to contribute to structuring the soybean sector in France, SOJALIM represents a new and important stage in its partnership with EURALIS and is a logical extension to the creation of SANDERS-EURALIS in September 2013.

From its inception, the SOJALIM project drew strength from different sectors and partners in the south-west. Thus from seed production through cultivation, collection, crushing, the manufacture of cattle feed, the products of livestock sectors and their use by consumers, each actor has contributed to this important advance.

Soybean has only recently been grown by French farmers, starting in the early 1980s. Depending on the support provided, planting ranged from a peak of 134,000 hectares in 1988 to a trough in 2008 when only 22,000 hectares were cultivated in France. A revitalization plan led by the French Federation of Oilseed and Protein Crop Producers (FOP) spurred the Avril Group and SOFIPROTEOL, its finance and development arm, to seek solutions regarding growth of the sector, notably by setting up a processing facility that could deal with the grain produced.

At the same time, reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) enabled an initial resumption of production which, to ensure its sustainability, needed to be consolidated by downstream development of the sector. In January 2015, the AVRIL, EURALIS, CARREFOUR and FIPSO groups sat down together and sketched out a relaunch of the sector committed to the sustainability and quality of

French soybean, which in May 2016 led to signature of a partnership agreement focused on relocating a French soybean sector in the south-west of the country. The SOJALIM project was thus born.

SOJALIM then received support from the Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée Regional Council and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), resulting in it obtaining a total grant of €750,000, which accounted for 20% of the capital invested and nearly 30% of investment in the soybean crushing unit.

With the crop covering 140,000 hectares in 2017, this dynamic participated in a relaunch of cultivation in France which should enable it to attain its goal of 200,000 hectares in 2020. EURALIS intends to contribute to achieving this goal through its expertise in research and in the production and marketing of seed by EURALIS SEMENCES, leader in the French soybean seed market. The cooperative is also providing support for farmers who are looking for a new outlet that will allow them to diversify their land use while benefiting from both agronomic and environmental advantages.

Because it is a legume, soybean is able to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil that encourages both its own growth and that of subsequent crops. Its cultivation therefore does not require nitrate fertilization. In addition, including soybean in a crop rotation enables a reduction in the use of herbicides and fungicides, while achieving stable yields. The agronomic characteristics of soybean mean it is also a crop that is particularly well suited to organic farming.

Organic soybean grain will be processed separately and on a tailor-made basis for AUROUZE, a longstanding actor in organic livestock feeds in the region.

According to Michel VERNET, General Manager of SOJALIM: "This project has resulted from the common purpose of all regional actors in the plant, livestock and processing sectors. It will draw strength from this commitment to develop a sustainable sector that ensures an equitable distribution of value. The support we have received from the Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée Regional Council and the EU has contributed significantly to the creation of this regional tool that is essential to developing the soybean sector in south-west France”.

For Arnaud ROUSSEAU, Chairman of AVRIL Gestion: "In line with the upcoming French Round Table discussions on food, the inauguration of SOJALIM is a practical response to two challenges: to create and distribute value throughout the regions on the one hand, and to promote healthy, safe and sustainable food on the other. It is emblematic of what different links in the value chain – from grain to the finished product – can achieve by working together to prepare a future for our different sectors”.

Christian PÈES, Chairman of the cooperative group EURALIS agrees: "By developing this sector, we are accomplishing our role as a cooperative. We are responding to demands from consumers who want more local products from guaranteed sources. We are investing in our region so as to develop a high-quality and local soybean sector that will be able to create value for the farms operated by our members. The objective of EURALIS is to ensure a convergence of the interests of both consumers and our member farmers”.

For Vincent LABARTHE, Vice-President of the Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée Regional Council, who is responsible for Agriculture and Agricultural Training and has been following these plans for a structuring sector since their inception: "The sustained and supportive involvement of the Region and Europe has now contributed to providing the foundations for an innovative crushing plant. This project meets our goal to create a cascade of added value for farmers and operators in the agrifood sector in our region. We want to support the competitiveness and sustainability of farming while constructing a region that is a pioneer in the excellence of its food production.”



SOJALIM – some key figures:

  • 55% of capital from Sanders-Euralis and 45% from the Avril Group (Sofiproteol)
  • An investment worth €3.65 million, including €1 million that is self-financed, €0.75 million of grants (from the Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditarranée Regional Council and the European Fund) and €1.85 million in the form of loans.
  • A crushing capacity of 25,000 tonnes of grain per year, including 5000 tonnes of organic soybean

About the AVRIL Group:

Avril is the industrial and finance actor of the French oilseeds and proteins sectors.

Set up in 1983 at the initiative of French farmers in order to assure long-term markets for French products, Avril has become a major industrial and financial group that is developing in France and internationally.  It is present in sectors as diverse as human foods, animal feeds and expertise, renewable energies and chemistry, and owns a portfolio of strong brands that are leaders in their markets: Diester®, Sanders, Lesieur, Puget, Matines, Bunica, Taous, etc.

In nearly 35 years, the Group has changed in size but its purpose has remained the same: to create sustainable value in the vegetable oils and proteins sector while contributing to better foods for humans and preservation of the planet. 

To fulfil its mission, Avril draws strength from its industrial activities organized around plant production and livestock sectors, and from its financial arm which operates through Sofiprotéol, its finance and development company. 

In 2016, the Avril Group achieved turnover worth €5.9 billion.  It counts 7200 employees working in 21 countries.

For more information:  http://www.groupeavril.com | Twitter : @Avril


About the EURALIS Group:

The EURALIS cooperative group is a crucial actor in the French agriculture and agrifood industries.

Euralis is involved in research on and the production and sale of certified seeds (maize, sunflower, rapeseed, sorghum and soybean) via its brand Euralis Semences.

Driven by a desire for constant innovation, Euralis supports its 12,000 partner farmers in south-west France by providing advice and collecting and selling their plant and livestock crops, as well as in vine cultivation, oenology and the packaging of wines. The cooperative has integrated sectors in vegetables (in partnership with Géant Vert and Bonduelle), Red Label poultry, geese and ducks and beef cattle. Euralis processes and sells foie gras and duck products through its Maison Montfort and Rougié brands, as well as supporting local shops by supplying them with its Jean Stalavan ready-to-eat dishes.

The cooperative group is also present among major retailers through its Point Vert outlets, and is developing short-channel markets via the “Table des Producteurs”.

In 2016, the Euralis cooperative group achieved turnover worth €1.5 billion. It counts 8500 member farmers and 5000 employees working in 13 countries. 

For more information:  www.euralis.fr | www.terre-vive.fr | Twitter : @euralisgroupe


Tom DORON | Groupe AVRIL
+33 (0)1 78 14 80 09 | +33 (0)6 26 28 39 94

Marjolaine ALARY | Groupe EURALIS
+33 (0)5 59 92 39 00 | +33 (0)6 78 11 34 98