IA year ago, the gas was under maximum pressure. The invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s Russia sent the counters into a panic. Already under strain at the end of 2021, with the recovery of the post-Covid-19 economy, the price of gas was exploding under the fire of Russian grapeshot.
The military assault also propelled oil, coal and wheat to the heights, at the precise moment when the doors of the Salon de l’Agriculture opened in Paris, which caused a wind of anxiety to blow through the aisles of the exhibition halls. . The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, anxious to reassure, then announced a “resilience plan” For “build shields” against expected cost increases for energy, fertilizers and animal feed.
A year later, on Saturday February 25, calves, cows, pigs, sheep and rabbits were again on display at the largest farm in France, Porte de Versailles. And Ovalie, the muse cow, chosen for her photogenicity, has arrived in the capital. Only the hens, confined, did not have an exit voucher.
Farmers, as a whole, are rather reassured. The year 2022, unexpected for cereal growers, was also better for breeders. The rise in the prices of wheat, sugar, milk, butter, rapeseed and meat has benefited them. And the fertilizer shortage, a once turbulent bugbear, hasn’t happened.
How is 2023 shaping up? At the time of the delivery of the first cucumbers of the year, Jean-Pierre La Noë, president of the AOP Tomates et Cucumbers de France, is rather relieved in view of the recent evolution of energy prices. “On the spot market, the megawatt hour is trading at 46 euros against 130 euros a year ago”, he says. It even peaked at 340 euros in August 2022.
As the end of winter approaches and European stocks are still well filled, the pressure is decreasing. The price of gas liquefies, even if it remains sensitive to changes in mercury. The current cold snap pushed the price of European natural gas TTF (Title Transfer Facility) back above 50 euros per megawatt hour on Friday 24 February.
Faced with soaring prices a year ago, Mr. La Noë explains that he encouraged French market gardeners not to shift greenhouse production schedules. They adapted. “ We do as in a house, we set the heating thermostat at 16°C instead of 20°C and we added protections on the greenhouses”he says.
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