Heat hits olive farms in France

Olive farmers have seen a huge drop in crop yield – up to 60% in the Alpes-Maritimes – due to this summer’s heatwaves.

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Some producers have lost all their crop as dried-out fruit fell before it could mature.

Maud Damiens, an adviser from the chamber of agriculture of the Alpes-Maritimes, said: “Some of the trees do grow a lot of fruit but it later falls off.

“During the hot period in late June, under the leaves the temperature reached 38C.”

One olive farmer, Pierre Poussou from Tourrettes-sur-Loup, said he had olives on only 40 of his 178 trees.

Olive consumption has continued to rise in France and in 2017 the import of table olives and oil reached 38,100 tonnes.

If high temperatures continue, French olive farms may die out and imports from Spain and Italy will take over.

A bacterial disease which has killed more than a million olive trees in Italy has reached France.

  • Xylella fastidiosa prevents water from passing through the leaves and dries the branches and the fruit, which fall on the ground.
  • It has been found on two trees in Menton and Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes). It is spread by an insect, cicadelle in French, which looks like an aphid. Insecticides do not stop it and the only solution is to remove the trees.