Fondation Avril - Au coeur des ruralitésFondation Avril - Au coeur des ruralités

    The foundation

    From the President

    Philippe Tillous-Borde

    Philippe Tillous-Borde


    Philippe Tillous-Borde

    After having been at the origin of the creation and development of Sofiprotéol, now known as Groupe Avril, it is with the same energy and enthusiasm that I initiated the creation of the Foundation, by bringing together know-how and complementary talents around the project: the agricultural community, a team of committed and involved personalities, a committee of scientific experts… The creation of Fondation Avril, Recognized as a Public Service, is the fruit of a reflection of its founders around grand social, economical and environmental issues.

    Created at the initiative of the agricultural community, in the service of the general interest, it intends to act in favor of social and economical dynamism of the rural community, to protect biodiversity, to prevent and adapt agricultural and farming systems to climate change, and then, to promote a healthy and sustainable alimentation.

    The Foundation is committed to building projects promoting social, economical, environmental and technological innovation by aiming to make its beneficiaries more self-sufficient by the creation of values in rural areas, by developing the concept of entrepreneurship, by reinforcing the resilience capacity of family farming in the face of climate change, by making the people on the ground the agents of change.

    To optimize the effects of its actions, Fondation Avril acts at once as a project mobilizer, a project partner or as a project operator, searching for new, alternative solutions to the current system.

    The culture of listening and openness, complementary action methods, new capacities to innovate, and long term commitment represent the defining qualities I wish to develop for our Foundation.

    Philippe Tillous-Borde

    Our values

    Expertise & Credibility

    Fondation Avril builds upon a knowledge base brought by its Scientific Committee and the ability to mobilize a community of respected independent experts, in areas such as alimentation, agriculture, demography and sociology in the rural community. Its connections with the founders (FOP and FIDOP) gives credibility to the Foundation among the agricultural community which will be able to mobilize to multiply its social impact.

    Openness & Interdisciplinarity

    As to increase its impact, Fondation Avril wishes to develop a global approach to subjects, always bringing in a fresh perspective. It will favor the interaction of knowledge and competencies, calling on the several associated disciplines, open-mindedly, as to identify original and alternative solutions carrying social, economical, environmental or technological innovation at the service of the general interest.

    Trust &

    Fondation Avril wishes to gather around joint projects, actors from different backgrounds as to facilitate innovations and a change in scale. To fulfill its missions, it will rely on the attentive consideration of projects by its partners, transparency of procedures and a long term involvement in the projects; as many conditions to create a climate of confidence and mutual respect and so dynamize the rural community together.

    Our history


    Fondation Avril, Recognized as a Public Service, was born of a double ambition: to act and get involved in the public domain, for the general interest and sustainable development, and more precisely in the rural community, and the desire to bring changes to the governance of Groupe Avril by stabilizing its capital over the long term.

    Hence was created Fondation Avril, Recognized as a Public Service by decree on December 11th, 2014, one of a very few shareholder foundations in France. This particular status allows the foundation to benefit from the skills as well as human and economic resources of the group, all the while remaining autonomous as far as its conduct and actions are concerned.

    The Foundation fits resolutely into the social and economical dynamisation of the rural community, pursuing missions of general interest, and relies on the experience of its founders in the domains of agriculture, alimentation, agro-industry, innovation and international cooperation. Its missions materialize through financial and human support for local initiatives and, as an operating foundation, by the implementation of innovative projects gathering and associating different partners in France and around the world.

    Our missions

    Reinvigorate the French rural community through entrepreneurship

    There is not only one rural community in France, but many of them with great disparities amongst them: city countryside, agricultural and industrial farmlands, remote countryside… Employment growth is generally inferior to that of urban areas, and the income earned by rural communities is, often, essentially from residential origin. Farm operators now account for only 6.6% of the rural population.

    To transform rural areas into dynamic and supportive territories, thanks to entrepreneurship, the creation of sustainable employment in the areas and the development of nearbye services, ensuring that the same sort of facilities one would find in urban areas is a key issue at a time when our countryside loses inhabitants and a growing melancholy spreads among farm operators.

    We have selected 2 main areas of focus to carry out this mission:

    1. To support and facilitate entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs designed to promote solidarity in rural areas,
    2. To create new links «city-countryside » through alimentation.

    To accompany family farming towards a greater resilience

    70% of world poverty concerns rural communities, yet they are the number one food producers and managers of natural resources, that being water and land. In 2050, the number of agricultural assets will have decreased by 15% in West Africa while the city population will have more than doubled!

    At the heart of alimentary, environmental and demographic issues, family farming is, in addition, particularly sensitive to economic and climate related shocks.

    We have selected 2 main areas of focus to carry out this mission:

    1. To fight against climate change and its impacts through long term action on eco-systems, by preserving bio-diversity and adapting agricultural practices, particularly in sensitive areas such as Sahelian Africa.
    2. To accompany the structuring of family farming in the heart of these areas in an « entrepreneurial » manner as to reinforce the involvement of farmers in the local food sector and allow a more equitable redistribution of the created wealth as well as a better resilience to shocks (climate, economic…)

    In both cases, social, economic, technological and environmental innovations, the image of loops of circular economy or links between sectors and areas, allowing a change of scale, could be studied. The foundation will also focus on the education of young people and the training of farmers as a lever for agricultural development.

    To promote healthy and sustainable alimentation

    The food paradox on a global scale is appalling: today almost one person in 8 suffers from hunger in the world and one third of food production is wasted, cardiovascular diseases have become the first cause of mortality and obesity has doubled in 30 years!

    Fondation Avril wishes to promote healthy and sustainable alimentation, from quality production that is respectful of the environment and available to all of the population.

    1. By raising awareness about the benefits of a healthy and well balanced diet through the promotion of suitable eating habits and feeding practices, significantly among young people and sensitive populations.
    2. By facilitating access for the poorest of populations to a diversified food supply, both in France where, as life-expectancy increases, new diseases appear (AMD…) and in countries where the fight against malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies constitute a priority.

    Our projets


    Itinerant stores for people in precarious situations in rural areas.

    The Avril Foundation and the Fédération nationale des Banques Alimentaires are developing a specific program for persons in precarious situations in rural areas. “Itinerant stores” will distribute food aid in remote rural areas. This program also aims at recreating social links and beyond, facilitating the reintegration of people in difficulty in the working world. In 2015, the Avril Foundation will support the project initiated by the Banques Alimentaires de Rouen and its region, whose itinerant truck will supply 400 food baskets a week in the surrounding countryside.


    Innovating to support better new businesses in rural areas
    After a feasibility study led in 2015, the Avril Foundation supports ADIE to adapt the micro-credit to the specificities of the rural world and thus facilitate new business start-ups by people having no access to a bank loan. Launched in two experimental zones, the project REGAIN 1, will allow to give credit to 600 entrepreneurs of the rural world who will be all supported in their activity launch.
    The project will set up two experimental areas:

    – A north zone: Indre (36), Cher (18), North of Allier (03)

    – A south zone: Cantal (15), of Aveyron (12), Lozère (48) and Haute-Loire (43), south of Puy de Dôme (63)


    Giving an opportunity to farmers in difficulty

    ANDES is an not-for-profit organization that supports the development of social stores for people in vulnerable situation. Its program Uniterres allows farmers, who are themselves in difficulty or in transition, to supply these stores in quality, locally grown and seasonal products with a contract ensuring a year long income for them. As part of its mission for the rural world’s revitalization, the Avril Foundation supports the Uniterres program to improve the agricultural producers’ reintegration in the market system after their transition years. The Avril Foundation also aims at fostering the implementation of Uniterres on new territories and thus to support more farmers.


    Facilitating food donations from farmers.

    SOLAAL is a general interest association that facilitates food supports in particular from agricultural producers to national food aid charities. To improve access to quality food for all, the Avril Foundation supports SOLAAL in its development and professionalization. The Foundation also intends to help SOLAAL to come up with new supportive ways to increase these donations, such as gleaning, to generalize gifts from farmers.


    Promoting youth’s entrepreneurship in rural areas

    The Avril Foundation supports France Active’s program CAP JEUNES. The Avril Foundation is committing to support 40 projects of new business start-up by young people under 26 in rural revitalization zones in Aquitaine, Auvergne, Franche-Comté, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Midi-Pyrénées, Picardy and Brittany. Within the framework of this ” Cap’Jeunes Rural ” program, the young entrepreneurs will benefit from a 2000€ bonus as well as a specific support assured by France Active’s team.


    Supporting new business start-ups in agricultural, agro-industrial and distribution industries. 

    The “Initiative France” network supports through honor loans and specific advice entrepreneurs who create, take over, or develop companies combining economic success and strong responsible commitments (territorial dynamics, environment commitments, social and societal voluntarism, innovation).

    The Avril Foundation is committing support to 45 business creation projects in agricultural, agro-industrial and distribution chains in rural areas.


    Developing viable farming sectors from an irrigated perimeter

    Since 2013, the AJP NGO has been developing in a rural region of Senegal in economic slowdown farming sectors with a double purpose: (1) promote healthy and sustainable diets to fight malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies, and (2) develop an entrepreneurial family diversified farming and adapted to climate change.

    To reach this double goal, AJP created in 2015, with producers gathered in GIE and local authorities, a water restraint of 11ha which allowed the return of fauna and flora, in particular birds in Nianing, 80 km southeast of Dakar

    The Avril Foundation supports the NGO financially and by sending volunteers in the implementation and the management of the irrigated perimeter which should allow to improve living conditions in the Nianing village.


     Supporting small companies in agrifood business

    The Benin Cooperative, SENS, created an original structure called ESSOR, “Solidarity Enterprises for Rural Services”. These Very Small Rural Enterprises provide local services to farmers (advice and technical support on the soybean sector, first processing, etc.). While giving producers access to urban markets, they secure city processing units in a local and standardized supply.

    In 12 villages located in three departments of Benin (Borgou, Collines and Zou), SENS advisors are supported by the Avril Foundation, specifically 12 ESSOR entrepreneurs from the soya sector.


    Supporting African SMEs in the agri-food sector for their modernization.

    African agribusiness’ SME’s need to modernize but they do not have the technical support. The Avril Foundation gives its support to NGO TechDev in order to contribute to the West African spin-off, the “HUB-IIT” model, developed in Mali.

    HUB-IIT is an informative reception center managed by engineers from ministerial department or professional NGOs. The Malian HUB-IIT has offered individualized and rapid technological support to small processing units within a 50 km radius of the capital Bamako. From Paris, the Remote Technology Support Service (SATD), led by TechDev, helps the HUB-IIT Malian team satisfy requests from African agribusiness’ SME’s.

    IAVAO (West Africa)

    Improving resilience for small farmers using cereals and pulses

    In order to improve resilience for West African smallholder farmers, Fondation Avril is supporting the French agricultural research center CIRAD through its IAVAO program  (“Innovation and Plant Breeding in West Africa”).  This plant breeding initiative aims to better understand and optimize the interaction between cereals and pulses (sorgho/cowpea in Burkina Faso and millet/groundnuts in Senegal). The overall cost for the project is 1,5 M€. This program will soon be extended to maize and soybean in Burkina Faso.

    Soybean Sector (Burkina Faso)

    Improving food security though soybean production

    A Memorandum of Understanding to improve the income situation of smallholder farmers through the soybean sector, was signed in January 2017 between the Ministry of Agriculture of Burkina Faso, NGO Agropol and Fondation Avril.

    Beyond economic repercussions, growth of the soybean sector in Burkina Faso will also benefit national food security. Not only does the soybean industry indirectly supply a substantial proportion of the protein needed for human consumption through the increased availability of poultry products, but it also makes an important direct contribution with soybean-based meals (tofu, soymilk…).

    Our governance

    The Board

    The Advisory

    The Team


    Appointment of Philippe Leroux as Director

    Beginning of July 2015, Philippe Leroux (48) has been appointed Director of the Avril Foundation.

    He will have a primary mandate to assist the President, Philippe Tillous-Borde in the governance of the Foundation and to support the team in the operational management of projects.

    Lire la suite

    During the last twenty years, Philippe Leroux has acquired a solid experience of agri-food sectors and has managed various companies in France and abroad.

    Contact :
    Tom Doron | Fondation Avril
    Tel. +33 (0)1 78 14 80 09 | Mob. +33 (0)6 26 28 39 94

    Creation of the Avril Foundation

    The first Board of the Avril Foundation took place on January 20th, 2015. On that occasion, the Board, compound of nine members, elected Philippe Tillous-Borde President, Jean-Michel Severino Treasurer and Gerard Thubery was named Secretary.

    Lire la suite

    The Board reaffirmed the Avril Foundation principles: « the services of general interest of the Avril Foundation, recognized as public utility, lean of experiences of its founders in the fields of agriculture and food, development of agri-food sectors, innovation and international cooperation.

    The Avril Foundation intends to act in favor of social and economic dynamism of the rural world, to protect biodiversity, anticipate climate change and promote a healthy and sustainable alimentation.

    The services of general interest will become a reality by financial and human supports on local initiatives and, as a foundation operator, by the implementation of innovative projects and targeted studies which can associate many partners in France and in the world.