Raw materials. Cock-a-doodle Doo ! The cry of the rooster, now protected as part of the sensory heritage of the French countryside, resounds. Mounted on its lugs, the gallinaceous proclaims the big news: record export for tricolor wheat! Indeed, the time is on the commercial balance sheet for the 2019 harvest. And the observation is clear: never have French grains been sold so abundantly outside European borders.
According to the public institute FranceAgriMer, a 13.6 million-ton dump truck has spilled around the world. Social movement against pension reform? Covid-19 crisis? Ignoring the logistical vagaries of these events, common wheat has widened its furrow for export. Traditional lovers of the tricolor grain, Algeria at the head as well as West Africa, were there. Egypt, a major importer of this nourishing raw material, has also ordered them. But the surprise came from China, which this year invited itself to the tour de table of French common wheat-eaters.
Less grain to grind
Let the most worried reassure themselves. The hexagonal silos are not empty, however. FranceAgriMer estimates wheat stocks at the end of the season at around 3 million tonnes. Not to mention the flour packages still lined up in household cupboards, after the rush on supermarket shelves in time of confinement. It is true that the 2019 harvest had been rich: the collection had exceeded 38 million tonnes. The wheat was good and good. As for the price, lower than that of 2018, it was competitive compared to that of Russian, Ukrainian or European competitors. Result, with an increasing volume and falling prices, the value of cereal production was almost stable in 2019 at 10.8 billion euros according to data published by INSEE, of which more than 55% garnered by the only common wheat.
Nothing comparable this year. As the combines frolic in the fields, the agriculture ministry released its first crop estimates on Wednesday July 8. No doubt there will be fewer grains to grind. Even if the figures are put forward with caution, the forecast is for 31.3 million tonnes of wheat, a decline of 20% over one year and 11% compared to the five-year average. Fall rains disrupted planting and reduced the size of wheat fields by the same amount. It remains to know the price. Each one spies on the number of ears of neighboring country …
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