France: Crisis in potato sector

In France there is a crisis in the potato sector according to UNPT (Union Nationale des Producteurs de Pommes de Terre). Due to the extremely dry summer, yields are exceptionally low, with up to 50% less. The UNPT requests measures from the Minister of Agriculture.

The first results of the potato harvest in France confirm what was already feared earlier this summer. The yields are historically low, even lower than the disaster year 2018. Compared to the average yields of the last 20 years, yields on irrigated fields would be up to 20% lower, on non-irrigated fields even up to 50% lower.

The UNPT, through its representatives, has asked the Minister to activate an “emergency and safeguard plan for potato production in France”. That plan has three parts: an emergency measure to preserve potato areas for 2023 by setting up a state-guaranteed loan to consolidate the weakened cash flow of producers; secondly, exceptional national and/or European financial support to assist those producers who have been hardest hit financially by the drought; and finally, an exceptional measure to save the starch industry in France.

For the UNPT, the measures are vital to enable France to maintain, in the short and medium term, its position as the world’s leading exporter of potatoes, a strategic position for the defence of national and European food sovereignty. The UNPT expects a swift response from the government.

Author: Antoon

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