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French farmers protest unfair prices

Lorries bringing cheaper imports of fresh produce into France have been stopped by French farmers angry at unfair price competition

French farmers protest unfair prices

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French farmers have been protesting against unfair price competition for the past week, halting lorries importing farm produce from the likes of Germany and Spain.

On Sunday, tractors blocked several roads near the German border, disrupting traffic in the Strasbourg region, according to a report from the BBC. In southwest France, farmers stopped dozens of lorries arriving from Spain, threatening to remove the meat or fruit.

French farmers have been severely affected by lower meat consumption, reduced demand from China and the Russian ban on EU food imports, with the French government estimating that up to 10 per cent of French farmers could be facing bankruptcy.

Although the government has recently increased aid to ease farmers' debts, as well as cancelling taxes worth €100m and offering new loan guarantees, farmers feel these steps don’t address the root problem of cheaper produce entering from other EU countries.

"The measures announced by the government are only about postponing contributions, but none of them deal with the competition distortions," French farmers' union leader, Franck Sander, told AFP.

For asparagus growers, he said, labour accounts for 80 per cent of the production cost. With German growers paying their eastern European workers €5 per hour, French farmers, paying an hourly wage of €12, will naturally struggle to compete.

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