Putin’s Global Food Crisis Stirs Unrest in France as Farmers Blockade Paris

by Ella

Paris, France – In the wake of escalating protests, French farmers have brought their tractors to the streets, blockading highways and encircling Paris in a demonstration against what they perceive as a deepening global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s prolonged war in Ukraine. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, in office for less than a month, attempted to assuage the farmers’ concerns by unveiling a range of promises, including emergency cash aid and stricter controls on imported food.

Farmers across France are demanding better pay, fewer constraints, and reduced costs, contending that the challenges of cultivating and rearing food have become increasingly difficult and financially unrewarding. The protests, which have seen protesters camping on hay-strewn highways, pose a significant challenge to Prime Minister Attal’s fledgling administration.


In a comprehensive policy speech at the National Assembly, Attal acknowledged the farmers’ worries about their future and livelihood. “The goal is clear: guaranteeing fair competition, especially so that regulations applied to French farmers are also respected by foreign products,” he emphasized, responding to one of the primary demands of the protesters – protection against cheap imports.


Attal outlined a series of measures, including emergency aid for struggling wine producers, expedited payments of EU subsidies, and fines for food retailers failing to comply with laws ensuring fair revenue distribution for farmers. Despite these promises, protesters remained skeptical, rejecting last week’s pro-agriculture measures as insufficient. Threatening to converge on the capital, Paris, if their demands aren’t met, protesters came prepared with tents and supplies.


To prevent any attempt to enter Paris, the government deployed 15,000 police officers, primarily in the Paris region, and stationed officers and armored vehicles at the Rungis market, a key hub for fresh food supplies. Farmers camping near Disneyland expressed skepticism, grilling sausages, watching the prime minister’s speech on television, and hanging an effigy of a dying farmer from a bridge.


Stéphane Chopin, an organic Charolais beef farmer, highlighted the challenges of competing with countries that have lower labor and living costs. “We have been trying to make an effort for local produce, for the environment, for 20 years. We are trying, we are trying … now we say stop,” he remarked.

Solidarity protests emerged in neighboring countries, with Belgian farmers blocking the Paris-Brussels highway, Spanish farmers demonstrating, and Italian farmers protesting near Rome against increased production costs, higher taxation, and reduced incomes.

The root cause of the global food crisis, exacerbated by Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, has led to surging prices for fertilizer, energy, and other inputs, impacting farmers worldwide. French President Emmanuel Macron is set to discuss the farming crisis with the European Commission chief in Brussels on Thursday. Despite the challenges, Macron defended the EU farm policy, asserting it as essential to sustaining European agriculture in a globalized economy. “Without a common agricultural policy (in the EU), our farmers wouldn’t have revenue. Many of them would not be able to survive,” Macron stated during a visit to Sweden.



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