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Uncertainty for the French sweet onion harvest after the bad weather in the Cévennes

The severe weather on June 12th in the Cévennes has had disastrous repercussions on the sweet onion production. Several farms have been devastated by the weather, and producers still do not know if they will be able to save their harvest.

The sweet onion harvest usually takes place around mid-August. But this seems compromised due to the damage caused by the bad weather at the beginning of the month. “We are still very distraught and worried. We do not know if we will be able to save some of our sweet onion harvest. Most of the harvest has been flooded!,” explains Miriam Boyer, farmer in Taleyrac.

This family who has grown Cévennes onions for 3 generations, has been waiting for experts since the 12th of June in order to start rebuilding their farm and access the fields by vehicle. “A lifetime of work has been wasted. The water took away part of the cultivated paths, sometimes even entire paths. There are crevasses 1 meter deep in some places, we’ve never seen that. The farmers are used to damage caused by bad weather in the Cévennes but this is really unprecedented!”

Without an access path, it is impossible to harvest and transport the merchandise. “Mechanized machines cannot access the fields, and it is no longer possible to harvest by hand with a 5-kg bag on your back,” explains the farmer. A wall also collapsed and must be rebuilt to prevent long-term losses. “The walls that collapsed on the future harvest will make the land infertile for several years. We hope this will be classified as a natural disaster. We received visits from local elected officials, the Chamber of Agriculture and the FDSEA federation, but it needs to speed up. We need quotes from companies and especially we hope they can manage to finish before mid-August.”

Several neighbors came together to help the family. “Some funds have been raised and we’ve already received 7,000 euros. What cheers us up is the concrete support from our neighbors! They came spontaneously to give us a hand, remove pipes, clear the debris, clean up, put irrigation is heart-warming!”, concludes Miriam Boyer.



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