Foies Gras du Périgord

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Ducks to be stripped

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Men and women of the Périgord Foie gras

Ducks to be stripped

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As with all animal industries, the duck one calls for several skills. From hatching until canning, through breeding and fattening, there are many players. Linking all these professionals is the job of Jean Vanarendonk.

Acting as an intermediary

Jean Vanarendonk runs the Avi Services SO business. He works with some fifty producers of ducks, distributed in the great South-west. His role is to serve as a pivot between the various players in the sector. The President of Avi SO Service explains: "we buy ducklings from the hatchery, which we sell to farmers. Some of these farmers are also our suppliers. For example, sold ducklings become ducks. We buy back the ducks from the breeder, ready to be fattened. They are sold to a duck fattener. And then, we buy back this fattened duck". Thus, the company can provide its customers, raw products, and opportunities.
 

A rare profession

The job of Jean Vanarendonk is rare. In France, he estimates three or four companies that do the same job. In the world of foie gras, this merchant is defined as "an old-timer, I've been in the business since 1984". At the time, he was already doing this activity with multiple partners. He went alone, and set up his business in 1999. Jean Vanarendonk already knew the selling of ducklings and ducks ready to be fattened, then that of fattened ducks. His activity was then extended: "at one point, we had trouble selling the liver. So, we were canning. It is by chance that we then landed on some wholesale markets". Avi Services SO also sells foie gras to the company Airbus and to the Ministry of Interior.


An observer from the foie gras industry

Jean Vanarendonk is optimistic about the future of the foie gras industry. He welcomes, in particular, the work of the Foie gras du Périgord association which has given the means to develop the IGP Périgord duck foie gras. This has greatly boosted production, and no one was left on the roadside". Other challenges, however, remain to be overcome. The trader talks about the issue of seasonality, foie gras consumption is still closely linked to the year-end festivities.Another challenge ahead is the target date of 2015. At that date, the cages for fattening ducks will have to meet new standards. All producers will not be able to support the investment.Jean Vanarendonk also talks about the issue of the operations takeover, "many artisanal canners are around fifty years old. These are very nice business, but they have no successors". It's the same problem that affects the entire agricultural world. Any takers?