Drought: for market gardeners from Nantes, “rocking in an unknown world”

“grilled” vegetables on foot, sowing or plants thrown before even starting the production cycle for lack of sufficient water supply: the Nantes region has been placed under drought decree for almost three months.


Promises of fertile harvest, there remains a stretch of white pancakes spreading as far as the eye can see on the plot. Hundreds of scalpped fennel bulbs. The vegetable plants have grilled on foot, overwhelmed by scorching temperatures and drought. “Death in the soul”, Cyril Pogu, market gardeners at the head of about fifty hectares devoted to cultures in the open field in Pont-Saint-Martin, south of Nantes, resolved to destroy, at the At the end of July, a hectare of fennel, the equivalent of 25 tonnes of production. “It is a heartbreaker to get to such a decision, I did not have the courage to do it at once,” he is sorry. “We do not do this job to live things like That. “

In total, the farmer, who has given up set up all his plants, lost the equivalent of 75 tonnes of fennel, or damage “surrounding 100,000 euros”. Associated with his brother, the farmer, who produces radish and young spinach shoots, stopped in extremis of miles. Five hectares of plastic greenhouses have thus remained fallow. “In the absence of sufficient water supply, it would have been difficult to sow them,” explains Mr. Pogu, also vice-president of the French vegetable union. This summer, the addition of the setbacks linked to climate change already represents “more than 200,000 euros in loss of turnover”.

“austerity cure”

The Nantes region has been placed under drought decree for almost three months. An eighth directive has just strengthened irrigation restrictions: as it stands, market gardeners are prohibited from watering crops between 10 am and 10 pm, the “austerity cure” being reinforced on weekends, from the Saturday morning to Sunday evening.

Water supply is sorely lacking but during extreme heat peaks, the use of watering could not even save all of the production. “On July 18, we went up to 44 ° C, stated M. Pogu. It is far beyond the genetic capacity of fennel.” “We have switched to an unknown world”, breathes Régis Chevallier, which produces in particular From lamb’s lettuce and leek on 70 hectares to the board. The vice-president of the Federation of Nantes market gardeners, which brings together 200 companies and represents 5,000 full-time equivalent jobs, alerts the public authorities on “degraded treasures” of many operators, phenomenon amplified by the war in Ukraine, originally Flowing the cost of inputs: fertilizers, energy, culture protection films …

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/Media reports.