Mildew threatens potato crops in France

Mildew is a big threat to potato farmers in the North of France at the moment due to climate conditions favourable to the disease.

“Humidity and temperatures of 20°C favour its spreading. We have to treat the fields every 3-4 days to avoid the spores reaching the tubers” says Nicolas Courtois. If this happened the potatoes would be unfit for consumption.

The regular rainfall means that farmers are forced to use high end products that are more expensive and are increasing production prices.
According to Pierre-Benoît Decool, facilitator at the La Flandre cooperative, “potato farming acreage is higher than normal in Europe. The disease will have economic consequences, that’s for sure”.

Nicolas Courois has already done the maths, “we would have to sell at a hundred or so Euro the tonne to cover production costs. Now we’re at €15 or so.

Harvest should begin in September. Only some dry weather and wind would make the mildew go away.

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