The plum harvest has started ahead in the South West and is expected to be much faster than last year. Instead of a month, it shouldn’t last more than three weeks. Bad weather conditions in recent months have caused a lot of damage to the farms. Out of the thousand producers who harvest the Ente plums which, after a slow cooking, will become Agen prunes, few have been spared. The Ministry of Agriculture is closely following this file because the total amount of the overall damage for the profession promises to be significant.
In one of the rows of his immense orchard of 15,000 plum trees planted on a hill on the border between the Dordogne and the Lot-et-Garonne, Nicolas Mortemousque supervises the work of the tractor which shakes the trees to make the fruits fall. “Two-thirds of my trees were affected by the frost in April and didn’t produce a single plum. “
Three times less plums
President of the Interprofessional Prune Board, he is in constant contact with his colleagues who have lost everything. “For some it’s a real disaster,” he explains. The economic damage is not the only thing to be taken into account. We must also measure their psychological impact on producers. We try to help everyone. Fortunately our group is united and no one will be left by the wayside in the six production departments. “
Pruneau d’Agen benefits from a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) but global competition is fierce, particularly with the United States and South America. In France, total plum production should not exceed 15,000 tonnes this year against 40,000 in 2020. As a logical consequence of the drop in supply, prices per kilo of prunes should increase by around 30%.