The farming unions FNSEA and JA gave called on their members to stage road blockades on major routes around the country on Tuesday, October 8th.
The unions say their protest is over three things: “Agribashing, which damages the image of our daily business, trade agreements aimed at importing food that we do not want and distortions of competition that are slowly killing French agriculture.”
— L'Alsace Live (@LAlsaceLive) October 8, 2019
French farmers have already shown their anger with the lighting of a series of bonfires across the country aimed at highlighting their plight.
The issue of pesticide use in agriculture has become a hot topic in France, with dozens of environmental protesters staging weekly protests and calling for stricter controls on the use of chemicals.
#Agriculteurs Sur l’#A13 direction #Caen en Ile-de-France, les agriculteurs viennent de quitter l’autoroute. Les 3 voies de circulation sont rendues à la circulation depuis quelques instants. Ecoutez 107.7 pic.twitter.com/7Fyi1Fym0l
— Sanef 107.7 ?️ (@sanef_1077) October 8, 2019
France has one of the highest levels of pesticide use in Europe and there have been a number of health scares linked to their use.
But as the government moves to enact further restrictions, farmers say they are being 'demonised' by the green lobby.
Damien Greffin, president of the FNSEA Ile-de-France said: “The agricultural world is stigmatised on a daily basis.”
Les agriculteurs poursuivent leur blocage sur différents endroits du périphérique toulousain. Circulation difficile au niveau des ponts jumeaux, d'Empalot et de Balma. La manifestation est prévue jusqu'à 17h pic.twitter.com/KZ1kYkvcY4
— viàOccitanie (@viaOccitanieTV) October 8, 2019
Farming unions have already voiced anger at the Ceta – the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada that substantially lowers tariffs on imports including food. French farmers say they will be unable to compete with cheaper imports.
Some smaller protests have already begun, on Monday around 100 farmers and 23 tractors marched through the streets of Limoges. The demonstrators dumped manure and several tons of agricultural waste in front of the agricultural social mutual society, the payment service agency, and outside the gates of the Haute-Vienne préfecture where hay was burned.