France has suffered significant losses to its sunflower crops as a result of heavy rains causing flooding, according to the Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP).

“The sunflower area in France, the EU's fourth biggest producer of sunflowers, will likely be significantly smaller than expected,” UFOP said. “Consequently, the EU Commission could reduce its previously positive area forecast to project negative figures for 2016.”

“The French Ministry of Agriculture currently estimates the sunflower area at 587,000ha, down 5% from a year earlier. The EU Commission projected 619,000ha for France in May.”

According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI), the Commission's forecast is still vague, UFOP said.

“Experts in Brussels have previously put EU sunflower production for the 2016 harvest slightly higher than a year earlier. However, given what has been happening not only in France, the previous year's level will probably be difficult to attain.”