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France announces 1 bln euros agriculture aid in wake of frost damage

Christian Fernsby |
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Saturday an "exceptional solidarity fund" worth 1 billion euros (1.198 billion U.S. dollars) in special aid after unusual spring frost damaged vines and fruits across the country.

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Topics: FRANCE   

"The state must be up to this disaster. In exceptional circumstances, there are exceptional measures," Castex said when he emerged from talks with agricultural representatives and elected officials in Montagnac in southern France.

Several emergency measures, including the suspension of social charges and tax payments, will be deployed rapidly, he added.

An unusual cold snap with below-freezing temperatures hit the French territory early April after a week of unseasonably warm weather.

The frost episode hit at least a third of French wine crops and might generate a loss of 2 billion euros in turnover, according to the National Federation of Agricultural Workers' Unions (FNSEA).

For fruits, it is estimated that France might lose half of its production and 1 billion euros in turnover this year.

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