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MONEY

Why the price of fruit and vegetables has soared in France in 2020

Fruit and vegetable prices have soared in France this year, according to a new consumer report. But the coronavirus crisis is not the only factor to blame.

Why the price of fruit and vegetables has soared in France in 2020
AFP
According to consumer association Familles Rurales, fruit and vegetable prices have increased by 17 percent in the past year, with fruit like peaches (21 percent increase), nectarines (+26 percent) and pears (+24 percent) among those most affected.
 
“We have never seen anything like it,” Dominique Marmier, president of Familles Rurales, told Le Parisien. “And on top of that, it does not guarantee that producers will be better paid.”
 
French consumer groups reported roughly a 9 percent increase in fruit and vegetable prices during lockdown, at a time when purchasing power was a major concern for French people.
 
The jump in prices can be explained by a combination of factors tied to the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
 
Firstly, the implementation of strict protection measures (buying masks and disinfectant, keeping 1m distance between fruit pickers) have slowed down production and resulted in a 5 to 15 percent increase in production costs
 
A reduced migrant workforce has also led producers to employ more French workers, who are generally more expensive, while border closures meant a decrease in imports from countries like Spain, where fruit like strawberries are 50 percent to 70 percent cheaper than in France.
 
Other factors like unfavourable weather conditions have also come into play. Frosts in March had a significant impact on fruit production.
 
“This year’s production of the majority of fruit like peaches, apricots and nectarines has been insufficient (in relation to the demand from consumers),” Laurent Grandin, president of Interfel professional association, told Le Parisien.
 
This month, however, things seem to slowly be going back to normal: “2020 has been a very unusual year due to the pandemic, but since July we have been returning to more normal prices, and some products are now even cheaper than they were in 2019,” Gardin said.

Member comments

  1. From my shopping experiences in New Aquitaine I have not noticed any reduction of supplies from Spain. The Spanish clearly supply the majority of fruit in France.

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SCHOOLS

‘Section internationales’: How do France’s bilingual secondary schools work?

For foreign parents in France looking at secondary school options for their children one option to consider is the bilingual 'international sections' in certain state schools. But how do they work?

'Section internationales': How do France's bilingual secondary schools work?

What is an ‘international section’

Essentially international sections in French secondary schools allow students to learn a modern foreign language, such as English or German in much more depth than a standard state secondary. These sections also facilitate the integration of foreign students into the French school system.

There are about 200 ‘International’ establishments (primary schools, colleges and high schools) around France offering international sections in 16 languages.

Most are state run, so for many foreign families they are a much cheaper alternative to private schools, though it should be noted that some of the international sections are fee-paying.

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Even state establishments can charge for enrolment into their international sections. Fees are usually in the region of €1,000 to €2,000 per year (although that’s still cheap compared to somewhere like the American school of Paris which charges between €20,000 and €35,000 a year)

American and British sections are particularly popular – and, as a result are usually the most expensive, while less-popular German sections are less costly. 

Why do they exist?

These sections are ideal for the children of immigrant families, as well as those where one parent is of foreign origin. Syllabuses are set up and developed by French educational authorities and those of the partner country.

In addition to lessons dedicated to modern languages, students benefit from lessons in another subject given in a foreign language. The international sections promote the discovery of the culture and civilisation of the countries associated with the section.

Top tips for raising a bilingual child in France

What languages are available?

According to the government website, 19 languages are available. But that’s not strictly accurate as it then lists American, British and Australian as separate ‘languages’, along with Portuguese and Brazilian. It’s more accurate to say these establishments offer education in 16 languages.

It’s more accurate to say that there are 19 “sections”, dedicated to learning with a linguistic and cultural education slant in favour of the following nations/languages:

American, Arabic, Australian, Brazilian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Franco-Moroccan, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Russian.

In total, there are two Australian schools, 20 American ones, over 50 British schools – most in Paris and the Ile-de-France (Versailles is very popular)

So, what’s studied – and what qualifications do you get?

As well as usual collège-level classes in core subjects, such as maths, history and the sciences, students have four hours of classes in the language, including literary studies, of their choice.

From troisième (age 14), an additional two hours of classes per week cover that country’s history and geography and moral and civic education – the latter is replaced by maths for those studying in Chinese sections.

They can obtain the diplôme national du brevet with the mention “série collège, option internationale”. The dedicated brevet includes two specific tests: history-geography and foreign language.

At lycée, students study four hours of foreign literature per week, as well as two hours of history-geography in the language of the section (maths for the Chinese section) as well as two hours of French as they study towards an OIB (option internationale du bac), often at the same time as a standard French bac.

How to enrol

The first step is to contact the collège you wish your child to attend. This should take place no later than January before the September rentree you want your child to go to the collège.

If you live in France, and your child is attending an école primaire or élémentaire, you should do this in the January of the year they would move up to collège.

Be aware, that some schools require potential students to pass a language test – written and oral – before they can enter an international section. A child wishing to enter sixth grade must be able to read books of the level of Harry Potter in English, to enter the international school of Sèvres’ British section, while another has said that only 20 percent of candidates achieve the grade that would allow them entry into an international section.

Find a school

You will find sections internationales de collège at educational academies across the country. For a full list, with contact details, click here.

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