France: Solidarity fund of 1 billion euros for farmers affected by frost

On Saturday, April 17th, the French prime minister announced the creation of an “exceptional solidarity fund” of 1 billion euros [1.20 billion USD] for the farmers affected by the frost.

“The government must provide assistance in face of this disaster. The exceptional situation calls for exceptional measures. I have come to announce a significant effort by the State of 1 billion euros [1.20 billion USD], because the situation justifies it,” declared Jean Castex after meeting with agricultural representatives and elected officials in Montagnac (Hérault) on Saturday.

This exceptional solidarity fund will be added to the other financial aid and will be activated for those who suffered a “real loss”.

The prime minister also indicated that several emergency measures “will be deployed quickly”, including the postponement and exemption from social costs, reductions on property taxes for land not built on, as well as the mobilization of existing arrangements for partial activity. Some emergency funds will also be granted “within 10 to 15 days” to the prefects in order to provide immediate support to the farms that have suffered the most.

For Hervé Lapie, farmer in the Marne department, “arboriculture, field crops, small fruits, red fruits, everything will be impacted. 70% of the French territory is affected. Some damage is visible today but there is still damage to come. There are decisions to be made on the farms. I believe that at least 3 billion euros [3.61 billion USD] are affected, unfortunately.”

According to Bruno Darnaud, president of PDO peach and apricots of France, half of the French fruit production will be lost, which represents about 1.5 billion euros [1.81 billion USD].


Photo: AFP - Sylvain Thomas

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