Dismal harvest spikes French fruit & vegetable prices

© Pierre Andrieu
The price of fruit and vegetables in France has soared by up to 18 percent compared to last year, according to the annual survey by the Association of Rural Families.

“Following two years of relative stability, prices have risen the highest since 2013,” the report says.

According to the survey which focuses on apples, melons, apricots, cherries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines and pears, the average price of a kilo of fruit rose by €0.53. Vegetable prices, including eggplant, carrots, zucchini, green beans, green peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and the lettuce, are up €0.20.

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Potatoes, strawberries and melons saw the biggest price increase, while tomatoes were 4.9 percent cheaper and carrots were down 4.4 percent.
Prices for organic products have also surged. Fruit prices are up 21 percent to an average of €6.95 per kilo. Vegetables saw a 4.1 percent increase to €4.10 per kilo.

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The price gap between organic and conventional products has significantly widened to its largest since 2007. A kilo of organic tomatoes cost €4.46 against €1.93 for a kilo of non-organic.

The price spike is explained by poor harvests this year across the country as a result of bad weather.

A mild winter, followed by a wet and cold spring, has led to a 30 percent drop in production in some sectors with significant deterioration in quality, according the last week’s report by the ministry of agriculture.

Apricots and peaches are among the most affected with the harvest of Bergeron, the most popular variety of apricot in France, down 70 percent compared to last year and peach production down by nearly 30 percent year-on-year. The cherry harvest fell 16 percent.

Overall, crops in Brittany, which provides 77 percent of French vegetables, have fallen 19 percent after a cold June.
Another reason given for the poor crop was the ban on the use of the chemical pesticide Dimethoate.

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"The feature of this year is that the difficulties were not limited to France with all the European market affected," Luc Barbier, president of the national federation of fruit producers, told France 3, noting a decline in Spain and Italy.