How the industry works

France is known for producing certified high-quality seed potatoes in terms of variety and health. It benefits from privileged growing conditions and a network of skilled professionals, from seedling production to selling.

Suitable soils and climates

France enjoys an ideal pedoclimatic situation to produce quality seedlings for a wide range of varieties.

In 2022, over 400 varieties were reproduced on 23,500 hectares, spread over 3 major agricultural regions: the North, the West and the Center-South. These regions, with a cool and humid climate, boast a proven sanitary edge (healthy soil and environment). Extensive wide-open spaces and extended crop rotations (generally 7 to 8 years) preserve this environmental benefit.


The French potato seedling industry brings together a group of stakeholders working to provide certified high-quality potato seeds to farmers, vegetable growers and gardeners in France, Europe and around the world.

Main professions of the potato seedling industry

  • Breeders, create new varieties every year that are increasingly efficient in terms of agronomy, health, and environment;
  • Producers (or growers), who are highly specialized and entrusted by the companies to produce the different generations of tubers up to the certified seedling intended for the market. Seedling production requires a high level of expertise and proper equipment for production and storage.
  • Producers-sellers, specific producer farmers who directly negotiate with seedling users;
  • Collectors, deal with the producer farmers for the production of certified seedlings, and with seedling users (farmers, cooperatives, organizations…). Some of them are seedling importers/exporters;
  • Repackers, companies specializing in the retail sale of seedlings to market gardeners and individuals;
  • Seedling users, who buy seedlings to produce potatoes for consumption, for the fresh market or for industry us (French fries, potato chips, potato starch). These include potato producers, cooperatives, industrial processors, importers, etc.

Guaranteed seedling quality

The sanitary quality and seedlings’ variety on the market is guaranteed by the certification process, under European regulations. The Official Quality and Control Department (SOC-France), mandated by the Ministry of Agriculture, is in charge of applying the regulations. This process, financed by contributions from all players, guarantees a strict production process and full tracking of the seedling until it is sold. Health inspections and controls are carried out by 60 inspectors and 3 specialized labs throughout the production process. The number of analyses made in specialized labs has been steadily increasing over the past few years and is the result of the industry’s genuine commitment to achieving ever-higher quality, well above legal standards. Moreover, France has adopted certification standards that are stricter than the European Directives.

Collective organizations

Seedlin professionals are represented by trade unions and federations, including:

  • The Union of Potato Breeders, representing the majority of variety producers in France;
  • The National Federation of Potato Seedling Producers (FN3PT), an Association of Producer Organizations groups three regional producer organizations: the Comité Nord (North Region), Bretagne Plants (Brittany) and the Comité Centre et Sud (Center and South) to which belong all producers and producer-sellers of certified seedlings.
  • The National Federation of Potato, Garlic, Onion, Shallot, and Vegetable Wholesalers (FEDEPOM) and the Cooperatives and SICAs Federation of Producers of Fresh and Processed Fruits and Vegetables, Potatoes and Horticulturists (FELCOOP);
  • The National Union of Producers of Sprouted and Split Potato Seedlings (JardinPom), represents about twenty seedling repacking companies.

These organizations, together with the other collective entities working in the industry, are represented in the Potato Seedling Department of SEMAE, the seed and seedling interprofessional organization, through 5 panels: breeding, reproduction, production (collectors), sale and use. Their representatives meet regularly during the year to define collective actions to implement (contribution to agronomic research, promotion and defending the industry, etc.), financed by their members’ contributions.

This website is one such initiative that was decided and financed collectively by the members of the Potato Seedling Department.

To go further...

Loading bags of seed potatoes for export

Access seedling production statistics


Check out the seedling professionals directory

Seed potato control for certification

More information on the certification process