French farmers block town to protest food prices
French farmers have blocked the road to the northwestern town of Caen, demanding an increase in meat and milk prices.
On Sunday, livestock and dairy farmers riding on hundreds of tractors and other farm utilities gathered on the outskirts of the town and staged the blockade on Monday, according to local officials.
The farmers blame the food industry and related businesses, including a slaughterhouse, a distribution company and a meat-processing plant in the area, for being part of the price problem.
The farmers waved banners reading “You are letting us die” and “Angry farmers” as tractors drove slowly on one of the main roads through the Normandy and Calvados regions.
“It’s one of the biggest mobilizations for several years,” said Sebastien Debieu, the secretary general of farmers’ union FDSEA.
“We will continue the blockade until [Minister of Agriculture Stephane] Le Foll comes to Caen,” he said.
Le Foll has agreed to meet the farmers’ representatives in the capital, Paris, on Thursday to discuss the prices.
Meanwhile, the unions are calling for a sit-down with all the food industry business leaders.
Last month, farmers reached an agreement with food distributors to raise prices on meat and dairy products.
However, the farmers complain that they have not received more money after the price hikes in supermarkets, triggering a wave of protests across the country.
Over the weekend, President Francois Hollande instructed wholesalers “to offer consumers quality and farmers a good price,” hinting that the people ought to pay more money in order to obtain high quality products from the farmers through the dealers.
In early Fall 1990, angry French sheep farmers who demanded more money for their meat torched more than 200 imported sheep alive inside a transit truck. They poisoned nearly a hundred more sheep on another truck, slit the throats of sheep on another, and doused the livestock on one more truck with insecticide to prevent the mutton from being sold.