Late frost weather disaster for French agriculture

Late frost weather disaster for French agriculture

A frosted grapevine: up to 90% of grapes may be lost in some parts of France.

France’s Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie has said the unseasonal frost in the first week of April was the “greatest agronomical catastrophe of the century”.

The historic low temperatures wreaked havoc on vines, fruit trees, rapeseed, and beet crops across the country.

The government has announced a new aid scheme to help the affected farmers. 

In the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region of the Rhône Valley, the unseasonal frost is thought to have caused severe damage to up to 90% of the grape harvest.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed a cap on disaster compensation for farmers will be lifted, and the government will do all it can to provide “exceptional” funding, including working with banks and insurers to help farmers. The  support fund will be worth up to €1 billion.

The unexpected frost has hit up to 80% of vineyards across France.

Minister Denormandie said earlier warm weather had brought grape vines into bud, but the sudden freeze damaged the buds, which can result in complete harvest loss.

There were sub-zero temperatures  for three nights in a row from April 6, with temperatures as low as minus 9 degrees Centigrade in some regions.

Wine producers are among the worst affected, and the frost setback follows earlier  droughts and other weather setbacks, and the additional 25% imports tariffs in the US.

Winemakers in northern Italy have also been hit by late frosts.



 

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