160,000 farms will be looking for a buyer in the next five years. "This means that we need to find entrepreneurs, and not all of them will come from the agricultural world," insists Audrey Bourolleau, farmer and co-founder of Hectar alongside businessman Xavier Niel in 2021. To meet this challenge, Hectar is focusing on three areas: coaching in farm management through a training process, innovation through agritech start-ups and awareness through a pilot farm.
Hectar's adventure officially began in September 2021 with the establishment of a training campus. Of the hundred or so people who have completed Hectar's program in just over a year, 70% were new entrants to the agricultural world. "We mostly have profiles between 30 and 35 years old, with 3 to 5 years of higher education, who want to create value and feel useful." To guide them in their new life, Hectar accompanies them for five weeks with a day of face-to-face training and nearly fifteen hours of individual mentoring. "These times of exchange with an experienced farmer, both on their successes and failures, guarantee the success of the projects."
Audrey Bourolleau is aware that agriculture must reinvent itself and think in terms of the different sectors: livestock, viticulture, market gardening, cereals... Audrey Bourolleau intends to help them find the winning economic model capable of providing them with the essential balance and comfort of life.
When technology and agriculture meet
To rethink agriculture, Hectar launched its gas pedal in February 2022 with the goal of hosting 80 startups in two while one year after its debut, 42 have already been hosted. "How does tech make farmers' lives easier and participate in better remuneration?" To meet this challenge and lead French startups to European scale, Hectar intends to convince investment funds to engage with them. "The turnaround ratio is longer in agritech." For now, eight of them have managed to raise €20 million during 2022.(BioDemain, MyEasyFarm, Mycophyto, Axioma, Muddy Machines, Phagos, Yacon, Hyperplan)
A farm to pilot the transition
Last but not least, the Hectar pilot farm opened its doors in April 2022. The site, 35 minutes from Paris, hosts corporate seminars, and more than 1,500 people have already taken advantage of it. "The challenge for food companies is to reduce their carbon emissions, but 60 to 70% of the sector's emissions are found on farms, not in industry. We need to better remunerate agriculture, finance the transition to obtain low-carbon production and fair remuneration." The site also receives many schoolchildren to whom it presents new faces and jobs related to the sector every day. "We need to put forward role models so that young people can project themselves." In addition to farmers, rural veterinarians; coders also find a curious audience.
Article by NADEGE HUBERT, February 27, 2023
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