French honey producers in France are facing an all time low harvest which will leave them fighting for survival.

A survey of its 20,000 members found harvest amounts are between 50 and 80 per cent on last year and the union representing the industry, Unaf, as asked for emergency aid from the government.

France is estimated to produce less than 10,000 tonnes of honey this year - down from 20,000 in 2011 and 32,000 in 1995.

French consumers get through about 40,000 tonnes a year, meaning three-quarters of honey will need to be imported.

The west of France and Brittany appear to have been spared, but other regions of France are said to be suffering.

High bee mortality, mainly due to pesticides, is one of the main reasons. A mild summer, coupled with episodes of wind and rain, also made it more difficult for bees to find nectar.

Producers have written to the agriculture ministry asking for emergency funding to help them make ends meet. Last year, the government made money available following the disappointing honey harvest.

Earlier this year, France outlined plans to ban farmers spraying pesticides during daylight hours, to protect bees.