Producers have been worried since the frost episodes that hit France last week. With significant, maybe even total losses for some sectors, consumers are likely to see fruit prices soar.
Josselin Saint-Raymond, director of the National Apple Pear Association. “This is a historic frost: all of the production basins have been affected. The orchards protected by sprinklers will give a harvest. The orchards that were not protected suffered varying degrees of damage. Some have been completely destroyed.”
The French prime minister, Jean Castex, announced on Saturday, April 10th, that farmers will receive “exceptional coverage” to cope with the situation, but Samuel Vandaele, president of Young Farmers, declared on French radio Europe 1 that “the fruits will most likely be much more rare, and therefore much more expensive.”
The Ministry of Agriculture announced that all of the production basins have been touched. But not all sectors are suffering the same losses. The apricots for example were particularly affected by the cold spell. “In some areas, 100% of the production was destroyed,” explains Bruno Darnaud, president of PDO Peaches and Apricots of France. “Prices should go up a few euro cents in the coming months.”
Significant damage has been reported in the Doubs, Jura and Haute-Saône: cherries, apples, pears and strawberries. The frost during the night of April 7th and 8th devastated the crops. Last week, Julien Denormandie declared that “distress and emotions are running high. This is an unprecedented, exceptional situation, affecting wine crops, arboriculture and field crops. The “agricultural disaster” procedure has therefore been launched for professionals.
According to Didier Costille of Vergers de Rioz (Haute-Saône): "It is still early but in addition to the frost, there was also 8 to 10 centimeters of snow. I am not sure what caused the most damage. 90% of the cherries have been affected and the mirabelle plums are ruined. Our largest surfaces, the apples and pears, are 80-90% destroyed. It is difficult to evaluate exactly but a tree has 1,000 to 2,000 flowers. A few remain, but not a lot.”