French farmers block refineries, fuel depots over palm…

French farmers block refineries fuel depots over palm oil imports

The FNSEA had called for the blockades to be maintained early on Wednesday after the talks ended, saying they "did not get enough".

On Monday, a total of 13 sites were being picketed by members of the French farmers' union FNSEA, union boss Christiane Lambert said in an interview with France Info television.

French junior ecology minister said on June 11, as farmers blocked refineries across the country in protest against use of the vegetable oil in biofuels, that France will commit at European Union level to freeze the use of palm oil. "Not the staff, nor other vehicles, nor help", Guerinot told the press.

"This blockade can not be the solution to the discussion that we are going to have".

Lambert said the blockades were meant to pressure the French 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". This blockade is illegal.

"I want Total and biofuel producers to reach an agreement on a base price and a contract that will benefit rapeseed producers", Travert told RTL radio. "It concerns South American meat and Spanish wine as well as palm oil", said Damien Greffon, who leads the FRSEA farmers' union in the Paris region. The farmers are strongly opposed to the importation of the product which, they say, will likely cut into the profits of locally produced rapeseed oil.

Environmentalists have blamed palm oil cultivation for deforestation in southeast Asia.

According to Deutsche Welle, they are also anxious about emerging competition, as local biofuel producers might want to go over to a cheaper palm oil from overseas instead of buying locally produced and more expensive rapeseed oil.

Hulot had said past year 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 issue has caused friction with Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's two largest palm oil producers, with Malaysian officials warning of trade repercussions including in the possible purchase of French fighter jets.

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