Brittany exporters would normally send about 10% of their merchandise to the Russian market, but due to the embargo they need to export the produce elsewhere in Europe. They export all over Europe, and Germany is a large market for them.
However all of the products that would normally be exported to Russia are now saturating the domestic and European market, and although the situation in Britanny is “slightly better” as there is very little that is not sold, the prices remain very low.
French producers are threatened and angered by the situation. Mr Kampschoer of Kampexport says that “they are not very well payed, that’s for sure, and they have to destroy a lot of produce”. Britanny exports 15-20% of its artichokes, the rest remains on the French market. Mr Kampschoer explains that “the good weather and rain over August meant that merchandise arrived in larger quantities, and early, at a time when there is less demand. Artichokes are a vegetable that needs to be cooked, it is in September that they should be consumed, not August. As of the 15th August there was a high volume of artichokes at a time when there is not a demand”. The weather however was favourable to production, and the artichokes are of a good quality.
Cauliflower producers are worried for the future as they will saturate the market with the large volumes that are normally exported to Russia, they are also amongst the vegetables excluded from the articles to receive aid from Brussels. “There is too much cauliflower for the time of year”.
Mr Kampschoer believes that the situation needs to be considered on a European level - the government says that the damages will be based on an average of produce sold over the last 3 years. The French producers are not satisfied with these new decisions. “The problem is the Russian market being closed off”.
He gave an example of tomatoes which instead of selling at €0.80-€1/kilo, were sold for €0.10/kilo this summer, and he says that the same situation will occur for cauliflowers. “The problem is due to saturated markets and the consequences on prices. As a result there is a big difference between what producers were paid before, and what they earn now”. Producers are frustrated as “there is not an open dialogue with the French government, there are many promises, but no results. They just want to be understood and helped.”