“60% of the seed production area in France subject to high or extreme risk by 2050”, according to a study

To compensate for the future lack of water, farmers will have to advance the seeds, or even change them.


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By 2050, “60% of the seed production area will be subject to high or extreme risk” due to global warming, alert Tuesday February 27 on France Inter Antoine Denoix, CEO of Axa Climate, during a study on the impact of lack of water and increases in temperatures on this sector.

On the occasion of the International Agricultural Show, Axa Climate published Tuesday with the inter-professional association of seeds and plants (Semae) the results of a study on the future of several French vegetable, legume and even seed sectors. cereals by 2030. This shows that no region will be spared from climate change. “It affects the entire territory,” thus assures Antoine Denoix.

“Lack of water is the number 1 risk”

The CEO of Axa Climate explains that “Seed production in France represents approximately 380 000 hectares”. If in 2024, “27%” of this area is already subject to severe climatic risk, this proportion will increase to “60% in 2050”. The consequences of global warming will also affect “all cultures”. Of the 18 vegetables and cereals studied by this report, “only spring barley is doing better because there is less spring frost”says Antoine Denoix.

The study warns that “lack of water is the number 1 risk” for the sectors, and that it “will get worse” over the decades. The study estimates “54% share of risk linked to water availability in critical times of seed crops”. Axa Climate also mentions the risk linked to excess heat which will increase “by 30% from 2030”. Its CEO Antoine Denoix takes the example of Drôme in particular. “In July, the temperature of 37 degrees which was historically exceeded one year in ten will be exceeded every two years in 2030.”


Faced with this observation, the sectors will first have to adapt geographically, according to Antoine Denoix. “The south of France will be particularly affected due to rising temperatures and the risk of drought in spring and summer”, specifies the study. The boss of Axa Climate ensures that “the corn, which we are more used to seeing in the South-West, will go up to the north of Paris”. “Clover, which we mostly see in the meadows of Indre and Cher, will rise again to the level of the Ardennes and Pas-de-Calais”, he adds. Climate change will also disrupt sowing dates: “We plant earlier now”, notes Antoine Denoix. He thus observes that for corn the sowing dates were previously “end of April” and that we “will be at the end of March” in the coming decades.

Finally, according to the study this adaptation will also involve a change of seeds. Antoine Denoix believes that we will “cultivate around eleven new seeds in France in the next ten or twenty years”. He cites in particular the case of the “lentil which comes from Asia, and chickpea which comes from the Mediterranean”. This means that farmers will have to, for example “restart the massive production of lentil seeds and varieties that we will gradually adjust to make them more resilient.”

To arrive at this observation, scientists studied 18 vegetables and cereals in total. They relied on data from the latest IPCC report while calling on experts: “We start from the prediction of science [et] we model the climate and agronomy to understand the different stages of development of the plant and the crop”, adds the boss of Axa Climate.

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