French farmers unite in solidarity ahead of June 10 protests

By Ron Kotrba | June 08, 2018

The French Federation of Oilseeds and Protein Producers (FOP) announced that its board of directors has met in Paris and unanimously voted to give complete support to France’s largest farmers’ union, Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d’Exploitants Agricoles, in its call for farmers and consumers to mobilize in protest June 10 at strategic sites against policies and actions jeopardizing French crops and farms.

Of particular contention is the government’s recent granting of a business license to oil giant Total S.A. to operate its La Mède biorefinery in the south of France—an oil refinery converted to process vegetable oils and animal fats into renewable diesel—using significant volumes of imported palm oil, despite EU measures to ban palm oil for energy uses.

“The administrators of the FOP … question the course given to agriculture—is it still an economic activity creating wealth and attractiveness, or is it nothing more than a vast laboratory of hazardous experiments devoid of any technical approach or scientist?” the organization posed. “[FOP] believe[s] that the current debates around the factors of production favor ideological postures much more than the pragmatic approach…”

FOP chairman Arnaud Rousseau said, “Agriculture is a full-fledged economic activity and the public authorities must affirm it loud and clear while joining the action to words. However, claiming it requires us to assume our responsibilities and evolve our businesses. For this, the public authorities must stop the increase in charges and promote competitiveness. Time is mobilization. The FOP will be at the side of the FNSEA in this battle for the farmers of France to regain pride and dignity in the exercise of an essential job for our country and the strategic challenges that await Europe.”

 

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