French Farmers Block Imports At Borders With Germany, Spain
French farmers set up checkpoints at the German and Spanish borders, blocking food trucks carrying imports, as protests against low meat and dairy prices continued after a week of roadblocks and protests around the country.
In the Alsace region bordering Germany, farmers searched 200 and 300 trucks, Franck Sander, head of the local FDSEA farm lobby, told Agence France-Presse. A truck carrying cheese from Slovakia with the Babybel brand of French dairy producer Fromageries Bel SA was turned away, he said.
France is Europe’s biggest beef producer and second-biggest milk supplier, yet its cattle farmers have earned less-than-average farm income in the past five years, government data shows. Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll has said that as many as 10 per cent of French livestock farmers are in financial difficulty.
“Prices have to go up, and that’s something that the consumer also has to understand,” President François Hollande said on a visit to the Var region. “The farmers have to know that, protests or not, we’re by their side.”
The farmers in Alsace said that imports to France are market-distorting, due to lower salaries and fewer environmental constraints abroad, but France also exports its food products to EU countries, Le Foll said on radio station France Inter.
In Spain, farm union UPA threatened to boycott French dairy companies, which, it says, pay Spanish farmers about 22 cent for a litre of milk while agreeing to lift prices in their domestic market to about 34 cent. The lobby also denounced French farmers emptying trucks of Spanish meat last week.
News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM