Egg crisis: Minister to meet with angry farmers

Egg crisis: Minister to meet with angry farmers
French farmers have threatened further egg-smashing unless their grievances are heard. Photo: Fred Tanneau / AFP
France’s minister of agriculture is set for showdown talks with French farmers, angry over the low price of eggs, this week as he attempts to avert a repeat of last week’s egg-smashing rampage that saw half a million destroyed on roads.

The sight  of French farmers in Brittany smashing 100,000 eggs a day in protest over the low cost of eggs has whisked the government into action.

It might be the middle of the holiday season in France but the country’s Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll is set to hold crisis talks with farmers in Brittany to prevent the scenes of last week when they smashed half a million eggs on roads across the region.

The farmers had threatened to continue their four day rampage and even step up their militant action until their grievances were heard. 

And even though they are due to meet Le Foll on Tuesday the militant farmers have warned of further messy protests if the talks don’t lead to a satisfactory outcome.

“If there are no results, it is going to get bad next week,” one of the farmers told Le Parisien on condition of anonymity.

The group, who do not belong to a particular union, called for France's entire egg production to be reduced by 5 percent to help raise prices, and  asked the government to set up a specific area for eggs to be destroyed.

According to Yves-Marie Beaudet, head of the egg section of a union that represents poultry farmers in Brittany, producers currently get paid 75 cents ($1) for a kilogram of eggs – whereas the cost price is 95 cents.

The UGPVB union says the European Union has "15 to 20 million" excess laying hens out of a total of around 350 million.

This is not the first time in recent months French farmers have taken drastic action to try and protect their livelihoods.

In June The Local reported how Paris was turned into a big farmyard as sheep marched down the Champs Elysees in a farmers' protest over the costs of rearing animals.

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