Agriculture, security, drought… the prefect of Lot takes stock of the situation in the department

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This Wednesday, the prefect of Lot held a press conference in which he wanted to take stock of various issues that concern the department. Agriculture, security, drought… Overview of the situation in the Lot.

Nut production, drought, security… These are some of the issues that concern the Lot department. This Wednesday, Mireille Larrède, the prefect, held a press conference to take stock of all these topics.

Drought: “we must remain vigilant”

“The department is not in a dramatic situation that other departments of Occitania could experience, such as the Eastern Pyrenees”, begins the prefect. The department’s water reserves (groundwater, rivers, etc.) are equivalent to last year’s for the same period. Everything will therefore depend on the weather this summer. “Because of this uncertainty, we must remain vigilant. Like last year, restrictive measures could be taken if the situation becomes tense,” says Mireille Larrède.

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Furthermore, the latter invites all citizens to be careful with their water consumption. “Individuals, of course, we have to avoid wasting water. As for producers, there are 4 or 5 in the department who are big consumers of water. We are working with them to create a framework with the Regional Directorate of Environment, Development and Housing (DREAL). The idea is to reduce their water consumption while maintaining industrial activity”, assures the prefect. Agricultural irrigation is also supervised.

Forest fires: the priority

As far as forest fires are concerned, rains have their effect. However, you shouldn’t let your guard down either. The prefect insists on the legal obligation of customs clearance. Individuals must clear the scrub 50m around their homes when within 200m of a forest. The checks will be carried out in collaboration with the OFB (French Biodiversity Office) and the gendarmerie.

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“There are actions that everyone can do. We don’t store wood near the house, we prune the trees to prevent the branches from ending up on the roof…”, advises the prefect. Furthermore, the state cooperates with the Sdis. “We are mapping the tracks in the forests, to make sure they are passable,” Mireille Larrède points out. As part of the Green Fund, the Sdis du Lot will soon be equipped with new surveillance devices, including drones. This will be operational for next summer.

Summer is approaching, so are the checks at the institution

The agents of the DDETSPP (departmental directorate of employment, work, solidarity and protection of populations) will carry out numerous checks in the Lotois establishments (sales and distribution points). “With the arrival of the summer period, many tourists will flow. They will want to bring back Lotois products. It is therefore necessary to ensure that there are no deceptions and that hygiene and safety standards are respected”, assures Mireilel Larrède. Last year there were 76 visits to 65 plants. 43 anomalies were detected.

Agriculture: helping young people settle down

Last week the Departmental Commission for Agricultural Orientation met. As nationwide, the number of Lotois growers is declining. “Agriculture remains diversified, even if there is a decline in livestock. Above all: 50% of farmers will retire within 10 years. We will therefore work to install young farmers. We will have to be attractive,” summarizes Mireille Larrède.

Nuciculture: the situation remains tense

Walnut growers are in trouble: they are struggling to sell their produce. “At the moment, the nut growers and ourselves are in discussions with the ministry,” says Mireille Larrède. The latter believes that it is necessary to go further on the possibility of withdrawal from the market, and prepare an emergency plan. “We are at their side to find solutions and hope to overcome this difficult path”, she reassures. The prefect believes that there should also be better communication on the benefits of the walnut and above all on the fact that there is a French production. But it’s still a long-term job.

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Safety: already three deaths on the roads in 2023

2022 was a satisfactory year for road safety. 8 people had lost their lives on the roads of the Lot against 18 in 2021. Despite this, there were still 25% more accidents and 25% more injuries. The year 2023 has started badly. In the first quarter of the year, 3 people lost their lives. In the same period last year, this figure was 0. There are also 25% more accidents in this quarter of 2023 than in the first quarter of last year. “You must never let your guard down, it’s always about destroyed families and broken lives”, regrets the prefect.

“The Lot is a department where crime is under control,” says Mireille Larrède. Property crimes increased 14%, with 2,008 incidents. Robberies with violence increased by 43%. Last year, 491 thefts were recorded. The prefect would like to remind you of the festive arrangement: the gendarmes can patrol in front of your house in your absence. Most important: Domestic violence is on the rise, up 22%. That’s 600 done in 2022. “We will increase victim support systems and those for prevention, such as young ambassadors. Clément Marot’s high school students go to colleges to talk about this violence”, concludes Mireille Larrède. This measure will continue to be implemented in the department.

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