Rouge Gorge, the French leader in melon production has announced that it is stopping the production of melons, to refocus on growing apples.
In Béziers, 22 employees will lose their jobs, leaving just six employees. Rouge Gorge also employ 500 seasonal workers for the back-breaking job of picking melons, and 80 fixed-term contracts for planting.
After 37 years in Béziers, this is the end of an era. The decision is national, because the group is in financial difficulty.
The price of Charentais melon has fallen in 20 years, while at the same time the charges are increasing. The Spanish competition cannot be ignored either.
In Béziers, the group operates in 200 hectares, representing an annual production of 5,000 tonnes of melons in 2019. Apples only represent 30 hectares, but this production is profitable.
According to France Bleu Hérault, the dismissed employees have been warned.
Source: France 3