France declares “agricultural disaster” as country deals with aftermaths of frosts
Photo by rfi.fr // After visiting a farm in Ardèche, in south-eastern France, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced plans to remove caps on compensation for agricultural disasters.
The unseasonal frosts that struck France last week are expected to have the most severe impact on the country’s agriculture in recent memory. Crops in large parts of the country face costly damage, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône Valley and Provence. Grapes, kiwifruit, apricots, and apples are among the crops most affected. The bitter frost struck suddenly after a bout of warm weather, which worsened the damage.
French agriculture minister Julien Denormandi said: “This is probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century. Several hundreds of thousands of hectares have been impacted.
Daniel Sauvaitre, president of the National Apple Pear Association (ANPP), told AFP: “Peaches, nectarines and apricots will not be easy to find on the shelves this year. The challenge is to know if there are enough flowers left that are still green to get a harvest. And it’s only mid-April, there could still be frost until early May.”