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French farmers protest low produce prices by blocking roads

28 January 2016 13:46



French farmers have staged a fresh round of protests, blocking roads and highways in the country’s northwest and demanding urgent government action against plunging produce prices.

The protesters used their tractors to snarl traffic in 18 locations inBrittany and the Pays de la Loire to call for an increase in the prices of milk, beef, pork and some vegetables.

“Producers keep losing money while processors and wholesalers keep making more,” French farmers’ unionist Eric Chanu said. “It can’t go on any longer.”

Farmers also dumped hay and tires on a highway in Quimperle, Brittany, before setting the barricade alight.

The farmers said they were sending up a “distress call” ahead of a meeting set for Thursday at the government seat of Rennes in Brittany, which their union has decided to boycott.

“This is the only way to be heard and to show disarray in our country,” said Frank Guéhennec, the president of a French agricultural union. He said the financial situation of most farmers is close to “critical.”

Also on Wednesday, a major protest was held in Mende, southern France, where some 130 tractors from around the region descended on the town’s central square.

French farmers have been staging protests for several months now, saying their proceeds from sales do not cover the cost of production.

In July, the French government unveiled a € 600 million ($ 650 million) support package for the agricultural sector; however, farmers believe more should be done to drag them out of the financial crisis.

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