Drought and unsold food: double jeopardy for organic vegetables – The impact of drought on agriculture

Withered under the effect of heat and drought, the artichokes bloom. In Taulé, near Morlaix, Jérôme Pirou has abandoned the idea of ​​harvesting his most exposed plot of camus. At the head of a farm of around sixty hectares of organic field vegetables, the farmer has no other choice: “They roasted on the stalks. We will try to sell the flowers. »,

As in all the fields of Léon, the artichoke season is catastrophic for the BioBreizh cooperative; 85 producers for 1,470 hectares of crops including around twenty under shelter. The consequence of the combined effects of the drought, the heat and the drying north-easterly winds which blew all summer on the crops.

Too many unsold

In this context, organic vegetable producers could have hoped for a price increase. Yes, but now, the decline in organic consumption – by 9% in mass distribution and 10% in specialized stores according to the Organic Agency – has decided otherwise. To the point of leaving Léonard producers with more than 60 tonnes of tomatoes on their hands, at the peak of summer production. The consequence, for Yann Bohic, producer at Carantec, of competition from High Environmental Value (HVE) and pesticide-free products with specifications that are out of all proportion to organic. The shallot, for its part, posted a 40% drop in tonnage due to mildew caused by dew.

Species affected by the drought, such as the artichoke, for their part, had to face marketing refusals, due to non-compliance with the size. A shame for the administrators of the cooperative who call for more flexibility on the aesthetic quality of the vegetables. According to BioBreizh, 50% of the production could not have been sold this summer, from the field to the consumer.

Autumn to redo

However, there is no question for BioBreizh producers to turn to conventional. They call for the establishment of a public water management policy, to allow, in the event of drought, to save the crops that can be saved.

Not Jérôme Pirou’s snub artichokes. “The artichoke is our favorite product. We will have to look closely at which crop we put in which plot and not necessarily water everything, otherwise it will be the infernal spiral, ”comment, cautious, the producers.

In the meantime, they are counting on the next crops to raise the bar. Like squash: despite expected lower yields, the systematic analysis of the land before cultivation in search of traces of organochlorine pesticides will again this year be synonymous with a guaranteed reduction in unsold quantities.

letelegramme Fr Trans

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