The institutes began discussing the joint initiative in 2006 in acknowledgement of important global issues facing agricultural research - such as global warming, food safety and security, and emerging diseases.
"Major challenges lie ahead in order to be able to guarantee renewable agricultural production and carbon in sufficient quantity, while preserving natural resources in favourable socio-economic conditions for actors in Northern and Southern countries," they said. "Agricultural research and development necessarily take on an international dimension."
The group, called the French Initiative for International Agricultural Research (IFRAI), is said to be unique in the world.
The overaching objective is to invigorate France's international contribution to evolving sciences - especially geared towards the CGRAI (Advisory Group on International Agricultural Research).
The programme includes carrying out foresight studies in the same vein as the recently started AgriMonde: World agriculture and food in 2035.
A CIRAD-INRA collaboration from the outset, Agrimonde attempts to foresee the role of French and European agriculture within the context of different global change scenarios, and to pinpoint the fundamental issues with which agricultural research will be faced.
The programme will also seek to structure partnerships with major international research centres; participate in programmes on climate change and horticulture; and seek out synergies in agricultural matters between geographical zones, like the Mediterranean and emerging countries such as Eastern Europe.
With a budget of €500,000 a year, it is set to run for an initial five year period with the possibility of extension thereafter.
The institutes' initiative, which has the backing of the French Ministry of Research, is highly topical since the UN's FAO has been debating ways to ensure food security for the future.
For instance, a report prepared in advance of the FAO Committee on Agriculture meeting in April said that a major shift in agricultural methods and their environmental impact is urgently required to protect productivity and food security in the future.
Agricultural practices are often responsible for environmental degradation, such as non-sustainable food production, poor fuel use, natural resource depletion and habitat exploitation.
And at the opening of a UN climate change conference in Nairobi in November, FAO Kenya representative Castro Paulino Camarada said climate change will directly affect future food availability and make feeding the world's rapidly growing population extremely difficult.
Camarada stressed that greater attention must be given to the impact of climate change on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and on mitigation and adaptation measures.