Following the damage caused to stone fruit productions by the frost from last April, a new aid has been set up by the French government, in the form of a reimbursable advance. The initial emergency aid offered by the government was already considered to be insufficient, and this new announcement has angered fruit tree growers in the department of Lot-et-Garonne.
For Patrick Léger, president of the independent plum growers’ union, “the government is making a mockery of the plum producers affected by the frost with its reimbursable advance of 20,000 euros [24,350 USD]. We don’t want this aid. Setting the limit at 20,000 euros [24,350 USD] per farm is ridiculous. Some seem to have forgotten that we are businesses and that for some farms, the losses will reach 400,000 to 500,000 euros [486,998 to 608,748 USD]. How are they supposed to make a new start?”
In April, during a meeting organized by the National Interprofessional Plum Bureau in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Patrick Léger had already warned the many elected officials present. “We will be back in a few weeks to see if these are empty promises or not.”
Today, Patrick Léger claims that “these were just empty promises. What happened to the ‘whatever it takes’ to help farmers in distress who never asked for anything during the health crisis and continued to feed the French. All the while, the government was giving 10,000 euros [12,180 USD] per month to restaurants for over a year (...).”