- The French Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, announced a €10 million aid package for local fruit and vegetable producers in French overseas territories.
- The aid aims to offset the increased production costs due to the Ukraine war, EU sanctions, and retaliatory measures from Russia.
- The aid will cover up to 90% of the increased cost of fertilizers and amendments for the year 2022 compared to 2021.
- The European Commission approved the aid package on August 28, 2023, and the official circular was published on September 21, 2023.
- Local authorities in French overseas territories have until October 27, 2023, to finalize the aid distribution, ensuring it is granted before December 31, 2023.
To mitigate the economic impact of the Ukraine crisis on local agriculture, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne announced an exceptional aid package of €10 million for fruit and vegetable producers in French overseas territories. The announcement was made on May 12, 2023, during an official visit to La Réunion.
The ongoing war in Ukraine, coupled with sanctions imposed by the European Union and its partners, as well as retaliatory measures from Russia, have disrupted supply chains and led to increased costs for various sectors. The fruit and vegetable sector has been particularly affected due to rising energy costs (diesel, gas, electricity), increased prices of fertilizers, pesticides, and packaging materials. This situation is exacerbated in French overseas departments, which are also facing a significant rise in freight costs.
The exceptional aid package aims to compensate up to 90% of the increased cost of fertilizers and amendments for the year 2022 compared to 2021. The aid is specifically targeted at agricultural operations in French overseas territories that primarily serve domestic markets. Root and tuber crops are also eligible for this aid.
European Commission Approval
The European Commission approved the aid package on August 28, 2023. Following this, a circular co-signed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty and the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas was published in the official bulletin on September 21, 2023.
Each Prefect of an overseas department is responsible for defining the application period suitable for their territory. The application windows must close no later than October 27, 2023, to ensure that the aid is granted before the end of the year.
The aid package is a significant step in supporting local agriculture in French overseas territories, which have been disproportionately affected by global events. It also underscores the French government’s commitment to food sovereignty and the well-being of its agricultural sector amid challenging times.