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Emergency aid for drought-hit farms

Harvest date brought forward and €100m in aid made available after driest spring on record

THE GOVERNMENT is to make €100m of emergency funding available to farmers whose crops have been hit by drought.

A crisis group has been set up to assess the damage from what has been the driest spring on record. The June 15 harvest date has also been brought forward, allowing farmers to harvest crops with immediate effect.

Agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire said farmers were in a "dramatic situation" across more than half of the country. He has written to banks urging them to be supportive towards farmers with cashflow problems.

The government will meet prefects in the coming days to examine the impact of the water shortages on a department by department basis.

Some 44 departments have imposed water restrictions of some sort (see the list here). The restrictions primarily concern "non-priority" uses of water such as filling swimming pools and watering gardens.

More than 80 per cent of people say they are willing to accept temporary water supply cut-offs, according to an Ifop survey at the weekend.

However, the weather looks set to change in the coming days, with rain expected in the west of France on Thursday, spreading to the rest of the country on Friday.

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