Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

French farmers to stage refinery blockade

French farmers to stage refinery blockade

Negotiations between the FNSEA union that called the protest and French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert to resolve the latest dispute progressed on Wednesday after he sent the union a draft letter in the morning responding to some of their demands.

French farmers began a blockade of oil refineries and fuel depots on Sunday evening (10 June) over plans by Total to use imported palm oil at a biofuel plant, which have fanned farmer discontent over unfair competition.

Christiane Lambert, president of farmers' union FNSEA, said the blockades were meant to pressure the government over recent trade agreements that would allow imports of meat, sugar, and ethanol from countries "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.

The move came after the French energy giant Total chose to use a cheaper, imported palm oil at its biofuel plant.

Hulot had said a year ago France would take steps to restrict the use of palm oil in producing biofuels in order to reduce deforestation in the countries of origin, without detailing the measures.


The move is aimed at reducing the use of palm oil blamed for causing deforestation in southeast Asia, he said.

He also denied the possibility of reverting the authorization given to Total to import palm oil, although he agreed to receive the guild representatives tomorrow.

Besides a ban on palm oil imports, she wants the government to outlaw agriculture imports produced using fertilisers, herbicides and other products prohibited in the European Union as part of an agriculture law that will be debated in the Senate starting June 26.

Fuel shortages were not expected as a result of the blockade, given France's network of emergency fuel reserves and in the absence of sympathy action by fuel sector workers. French farmers say its growing use has added to their competitive disadvantage because of high taxes and strict environmental regulations in France.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the two largest producers of palm oil.

Like this: