France: Cauliflower production is down in 2021

On December 1st 2021, the French national cauliflower harvest for the 2021-2022 campaign was estimated to have reached 218,700 tons, which is 6% less than last year and 15% less than the 2016-2020 average. The national surface area (15,200 ha) also shows a 1% decrease compared to the previous campaign. Several crises have followed one another early in the campaign due to the imbalance between the abundance of the offer and the low demand. In November, the market supply was sharply reduced because of the cold, which generated higher prices. The November prices were 83% higher than last year and 16% higher than the 5-year average,” as indicated by Agreste in a report about the situation.

Slower production in November due to the drop in temperatures
According to the estimates of December 1st 2021, cauliflower crops in France for the 2021-2022 campaign reached 15,184 ha, which is 1% less than last year and 6% less than the average of the past 5 years. The French national cauliflower production is estimated at 218,729 tons, which is 6% less than last year and 15% less than the 2016-2020 average (the 2020-2021 production was revised upward to 233,800 tons).

In the Hauts-de-France region, the 2021-2022 campaign started later than expected because of the cold temperatures in April and the 2020-2021 campaign in Brittany ended late. In the west, heat spikes during the summer have affected the 2021 production for several varieties. And in northern France, the excessive rainfall during the summer months have caused the cauliflower to rot and affected quality in some sectors. 

The weather became more favorable for the harvest at the beginning of fall and the volumes were significant in October. In November, the much colder temperatures slowed down the growth of the cauliflower and the production levels were lower than 47% compared to November 2020.

Prices higher than last year and 5-year average
At the start of the 2021-2022 campaign, cauliflower prices were low compared to the 5-year average and the 2020-2021 campaign. Brittany still had significant volumes to offer at the end of the previous campaign. Besides some periods with higher prices between July and August due to the lower volumes available, summer prices remained quite low because of the stable consumption level. In October, supply was high due to the prolonged mild weather, which weighed on prices. In November, prices clearly recovered, with the winter weather reducing the supply. The price increase reached 83% compared to last year and 16% compared to the 5-year average. 

From June to October 2021, France exported 12,700 tons (+3% from the previous year) of cauliflower and broccoli and imported 11,300 tons (+26% from the previous year).


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