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France bracing for ‘catastrophic’ food shortages following drought, farmers and unions warn

by Roger Mckenzie at the Fete de l'Humanité

FRANCE is bracing itself for “catastrophic” food shortages and price hikes after this summers extreme heatwaves.

After four severe heatwaves this year record high temperatures have wreaked havoc on crops and could have a devastating impact on the availability of food across the rest of Europe.

France is the leading European exporter of potatoes with more than two million tonnes of the crop being exported each year.

A failure of crops in France may have serious consequences for the rest of Europe.

Food producers say nearly 1.5 million tonnes of potato crops could be lost due to the heatwave — a drop of 20 per cent.

Geoffroy d’Evry, a farmer in the Oise region and president of potato-growers’ union UNPT, said: “We have never experienced a situation like this.

“We were preparing to spend the winter without heating or electricity, and now we discover that there may not even be potatoes for dinner?”

The Legumes de France federation has also estimated losses of between 25 and 35 per cent of the production and yield of vegetables.

Laurent Grandin, president of the fruit and vegetable trade association Interfel, told the website actu.fr: “With the rise in temperatures, the drought, and therefore the water restrictions, the plants have developed water stress, which has reduced production.

“As they lack watering, they favour their survival and produce less, and of lower quality.”

Francoise Roch, president of the National Federation of Fruit Producers, noted: “Apples are going to be a little smaller” after the heatwave.

Mr Rouc then warned that even if the risk of a vegetable shortage is ruled out, “there will definitely be fewer goods” which could spike prices.

The price of fresh vegetables have reportedly already risen by 4.9 per cent over one year.

However, this figure is lower than the inflation of all food products over the same period, which has risen by 6.8 per cent.

The multiple heatwaves, wildfires and drought conditions in France during the summer saw temperatures consistently above 40°C.

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