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“We are on alert”: farmers’ concerns are growing as two frost episodes approach

The weather is closely scrutinized by agricultural professionals.

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“We are on alert”: farmers’ concerns are growing as two frost episodes approach

The weather is closely scrutinized by agricultural professionals. Monday and Tuesday, two episodes of frost are expected with the coldest nights in April. “Over the next three days, we will be very vigilant,” underlines Françoise Roch, president of the National Federation of Fruit Producers (FNPF). “We are on alert, because we absolutely have to be able to save our crops,” this arborist from Tarn-et-Garonne continues on Franceinfo.

For Jérôme Volle, vice-president of the FNSEA, it is the entire production of this year which is at stake: “We already had quite a few flowers on the fruit trees, even already the composition of fruits, and on the vines we was already in spreading leaves. With frost, the bud turns black, and from there, there is a new shoot and [this one] is not fruitful. “So it’s actually a whole year of work [which can] be rolled into a few minutes,” adds the Ardèche winemaker. Some departments have already experienced these episodes of frost since the start of the year, such as Var or Vaucluse. “At the end of April, we are in danger for all our crops,” laments Françoise Roch.

Also readSummer heat, frost, rain: why these temperature changes?

Producers are therefore looking for solutions to avoid losing their crops. Some place anti-freeze towers on their farm while others light braziers. Françoise Roch uses water “which freezes and which is like a little igloo which protects the bud or the small fruits”. But all these solutions represent a “real challenge” for farmers because the investments are heavy. “Economically, it is almost impossible to equip all the vineyards,” regrets Jérôme Volle. For Françoise Roch, state aid to deal with the frost is “extremely weak and unsuitable” for producers. Added to this is a reduction in compensation issued by insurance companies, after numerous episodes of freezing in recent years.

If the nights of Monday and Tuesday wipe out fruit and vegetable production, certain “wine growers or fruit growers [could] demobilize,” underlines Jérôme Volle. At the end of the chain, customers could also suffer the consequences. With a drop in the quantity of fruits and vegetables produced, prices could soar on the shelves this summer and melt the wallets of the French.

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