French farmers block trucks with foreign food from entering France

Over 1,000 farmers in France today (July 27) set up roadblocks blocking food imports from Germany and Spain.

This is the latest act in protest against against the low prices they are receiving for their produce.

French farmers set up roadblocks on six roads between Germany and France on Sunday night and reports say that up to 100 farmers blocked a road on the Spanish border from importing food.

Franck Sander, president of the local branch of the National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions (FDSEA) said that they are letting the cars and everything that comes from France pass.

He told the media that they have already held back between 200 and 300 trucks.

“For example, we made a truck carrying Babybel [cheese] turn back. Consumers think this is French, but the cheese comes from Slovakia,” Sander said.

Last week, the French government launched an emergency package of approximately €600m in tax relief and loan guarentees to help farmers, however farmers claim that it doesn’t meet the needs of their agricultural sector.

Sander said that the measures announced by the government don’t deal with the distortion of competition [from farmers abroad].

Gridlock

Last week farmers caused total gridlock in northwestern France by blocking the roads with their tractors and machinery.

French farmers also put live pigs running around supermarkets; dumped slurry outside supermarket doors and set pyres of tyres on fire.

The French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, has said that there is an agricultural crisis and 23,000 French farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Le Foll said that the crisis is primarily for milk, a global crisis related to the butter market, the milk powder at the end of quotas and contraction of larger markets, especially China.

The Russian embargo and competition from other EU countries are other reasons for the low producer prices.

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