Faced with a historic drop in potato yields predicted for the 2022 harvest in France, the UNPT union was received, on September 2nd, by the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty. Here are the main requests made by producers to the French government.

With a 2022 potato harvest already predicted to be catastrophic in France (at least 20% lower, or 1.5 million tons less than the average of the last 20 years), and losses reaching 50% for non-irrigated plots, the UNPT union met the French Minister of Agriculture for a crisis meeting.

The union thanked the minister for his responsiveness and resolutely constructive approach to stand by potato producers who will probably lose more than 250 million euros [248 million USD] for this campaign.

Through its representatives, the union formulated a request to the minister for a three-part “emergency plan to safeguard the potato production in France.”

First, an emergency measure to maintain the potato plots for 2023 by setting up a state-guaranteed loan to consolidate producers' weakened treasuries. Then, an exceptional national and/or European financial aid to support the producers most financially impacted by the drought. And finally, an exceptional device to save the starch sector in France threatened with agricultural and industrial dismantling.

The UNPT underlined the common and responsible commitment to work on these different options within the most urgent timeframe. According to the union, it is vital to quickly engage the first measures of short and medium term that will allow France to keep its position as the world’s leading exporter of potatoes, a strategic status for the defense of French and European food sovereignty.

The request has been heard and the government is now expected to provide answers to French potato producers.

For more information: 
Union Nationale des Producteurs de Pommes de Terre
Guillaume Lidon, directeur UNPT