Rungis proclaims it loud and clear, it is the “first fresh produce market in the world”. It is this symbol that farmers want to paralyze. “Rungis often comes up in our heads,” said Friday January 26, the president of Rural Coordination Véronique Le Floc’h at the RMC microphone.
Wedged between Orly airport and the ramps of several Ile-de-France motorways, the MIN, for market of national interest, is a hub for the agri-food industry in France and Europe with a turnover exceeding 10 billion euros in 2022, more than 0.4% of French GDP. Crates of fruit and vegetables, meat carcasses and crates of crushed ice filled with fish, in 2022, 3 million tonnes of goods will pass through the windows of the gigantic warehouses in the south of the Île de France.
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Semmaris, the company in charge of managing the Rungis market, also owned by the French State, has identified more than 1,200 wholesalers who sell their products to 25,731 active buyers. To supply the markets and restaurateurs, nearly 30,000 trucks pass through it daily. According to figures from Paris town hall, a 13% shareholder in Semmaris, the market feeds 18 million French consumers.
“65% of our buyers are located in Île-de-France, we also supply businesses and restaurants in Europe and on the other side of the world,” details the group in its annual activity report. In the event of a blockage, as desired by certain farmers, it is above all Ile-de-France residents who would be affected by shortages of fresh produce. Vegetables, fruits but also meat or seafood products could be missing from the windows of market gardeners, fishmongers or butchers.
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Rungis is also an economic hub of Val de Marne. 12,947 people are employed on the 234 hectare site, making it one of the main employers in the department. And the model is emulated. The largest wholesale market in the world today sees itself as “the global benchmark for wholesale markets” and now sells its expertise internationally. Projects are currently underway in Kazakhstan, but also in Vietnam and Benin.
In addition to its economic weight, the MIN is also a symbol. First installed in Les Halles, in the heart of the Capital, the market is the symbol of French agricultural and fishery production, which does not escape the politicians who like to walk its paths. In 2017, the newly elected President Emmanuel Macron chose to go there to detail his food policy. Rebelote in February 2023 to defend pension reform. “Overall, people know that they have to work a little longer on average,” the head of state then said at around 6:00 a.m. in front of traders. The symbol of Rungis is also what pushed Gérald Darmanin to give instructions to the law enforcement officials present this Sunday morning at Place Beauvau “to deploy an important defensive device in order to prevent any blockage” of the largest world market.