Monday, 24 September, 2018

French farmers call for pursuit of fuel blockades

French farmers and their tractors with FNSEA farmer's union flags block a road in Feyzin French Farmers Plan to Blockade Total Refineries and Fuel Depots
Elijah Vega | 13 June, 2018, 20:30

Farmers are protesting government decisions such as authorizing the company of the energy sector Total to import palm oil from Asia to exploit a bio-refinery, which they consider an unfair competition with the French biodiesel industry.

She called farmers to hold blockades until at least the morning.

The French farmers' blockades at oil refineries to oppose the government approval of Total's use of imported palm oil at a biofuel plant was "illegal", said Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert.

The oil and gas producer operates five refineries and nine petrol depots in France. "Do not rush into oil stations, it is often that which creates the shortage".

"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.

"In South America the average cattle ranch has 24,000 cows, while in France we have on average just 80 - and yet we're always being told to be more environmentally friendly", said Christiane Lambert, president of the FNSEA farmers' union, France's biggest.

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"Our target is the state", Lambert said, adding that Total's decision on palm oil was "the last straw".

"This proposal is a betrayal of promises made by the French Government, and others in Europe, to the people of Malaysia", they said in a statement sent by Faces of Palm Oil lobby group.

Total argues its plans call for using less palm oil than allowed by the authorities, offer an outlet for local rapeseed and will develop large-scale recycling of used oil and fat.

"We will commit at European Union level to cap, to freeze... based on the total 2017 volumes, the volume of imported (palm) oil to reduce it gradually in the coming years", said the minister, Sebastien Lecornu, on Europe 1 radio.

Farmers fear that the move could negatively affect the use of locally produced oilseed crops.

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