Friday, 14 December, 2018

French Farmers Block Refineries across the Country

French Farmers Plan to Blockade Total Refineries and Fuel Depots French farmers block refineries over palm oil imports - The Jakarta Post
Doris Mccormick | 13 June, 2018, 20:30

France's biggest agriculture union on Wednesday told its farmers to suspend a blockade of refineries and fuel depots that had entered its third day over palm oil imports and unfair competition, a union official said.

According to FNSEA head Christiane Lambert, the protest is aimed at exerting pressure on French authorities over recent trade deals that would give a green light to imports of meat, sugar and ethanol from states "that do not respect the same conditions of production as French products".

It urged clients not to rush to petrol stations to fill their tanks, which could spark panic buying and shortages.

Some 200 farmers dumped dirt on the roads leading to the Total refinery in Grandpuits Sunday night, as well as parked about 40 tractors, president of the Jeunes Agricultures, Sebastien Guerinot, said.

"We have worked a lot but we did not get enough".

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The blockage was described as "illegal" by French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert. "We're going to ask our members to suspend with immediate effect their blockade of the different sites", Jeremy Decerle, leader of the FNSEA's youth-wing, told reporters. This blockade is illegal.

"I want Total and biofuel producers to reach an agreement on a base price and a contract that will benefit rapeseed producers", Travert said, adding there was no risk of a shortage of petrol due to the movement. The farmers are strongly opposed to the importation of the product which, they say, will likely cut into the profits of locally produced rapeseed oil.

While the European Parliament has made a decision to ban palm oil imports by 2021, France recently gave the go-ahead for a biorefinery owned by Total, a move that prompted many critics.

Total's decision was "the last straw", she said in an interview with Franceinfo television. Environmentalists also blame palm oil cultivation for deforestation in southeast Asia.

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