Production of foie gras is set to decrease next year amid surplus stocks and tumbling prices.

The industry's professional body, the CIFOG, has decided to reduce the number of fattened ducks by 5% in relation to the market average in 2001-2002.

80% of foie gras production takes place in south-west France, followed by the Pays de Loire region.

The sector has enjoyed spectacular growth in recent years with annual volume rising from 10,380 tonnes in 1995 to almost 17,000 tonnes in 2001. Consumption has followed a parallel trend over this period.

However, last year saw a slow-down and in the first nine months of 2002 consumption levels have remained more or less stagnant.

The CIFOG plays down suggestions of a crisis in the sector, which generates an estimated annual turnover of €1.4bn (US$1.37bn) and employs around 30,000 staff. However, a number of firms who have invested heavily in the past few years, in response to increased demand, now face the prospect of fall in revenues at least in the short term.