A year after French President Francois Hollande was elected, promising growth and jobs, the economy has slipped back into recession. As the BBC’s Christian Fraser reports, economic problems are affecting rural workers as much as those in the city.
The Lot-et-Garonne region is home to the largest organic farming area in France, and at this time of year the fields are blooming.
But as in other regions, the local economy is withering in the face of the punishing eurozone crisis.
Patrick Jouy, an industrial strawberry farmer, has seen few of the benefits Mr Hollande promised a year ago.
Many of his pickers are Poles; others are Spaniards and the Portuguese, exiles from Europe’s struggling economies.
Youth unemployment is 17% in the Lot, higher than the national average.
But French people are reluctant to take seasonal work, and Mr Jouy says he cannot risk giving out more expensive permanent contracts, particularly when France is in recession.
“It’s been far more difficult under Mr Hollande,” he says.