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Summer drought to shrink supplies of French spuds

It’s harvest time and the chips are down for potato producers in northern France where a long summer drought could see French spuds shrink in size and volume. The potatoes “first lacked water and then when rain fell in July started growing anew” which means the original plants lost starch and gained too much water, spoiling them, said Regis Dumont, a potato farmer from Warhem near the Belgian border.

Then they got a roasting, with temperatures soaring to 37 degrees centigrade (98 Fahrenheit) in August, unusually hot for the northern French plains which account for two-thirds of the national potato crop.

All five top European Union potato producers — Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom — have been hit by the unusually hot summer weather.

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