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Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal of France has taken proactive measures to quell escalating tensions among farmers, who have resumed protests, including road blockades and product dumping, to voice their grievances.

Attal has emphasized the importance of agriculture as a fundamental national interest and unveiled a comprehensive agriculture bill aimed at addressing farmers’ concerns.

The protests, which had previously led to nationwide disruptions, were temporarily halted following government promises of reform. However, with the approaching national agriculture show, farmers have reinstated their demands, viewing the event as a pivotal moment for the government to act.

Attal’s announcement of forthcoming legislation signifies a commitment to addressing farmers’ grievances and ensuring farming and food sovereignty for France. The proposed law aims to consolidate previous promises made to protesting farmers and establish a framework for negotiations between producers and wholesalers to enhance farmers’ income, a critical issue for the sector.

The government has expedited payments under the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy, providing emergency aid to livestock farmers. Furthermore, measures to streamline the hiring of foreign seasonal agriculture workers and alleviate payroll taxes for seasonal farm work demonstrate the government’s efforts to support the agricultural sector.

Despite objections from environmental groups, the government has decided to adopt EU pesticide reduction indicators in place of national ones, while reaffirming its commitment to reducing pesticide use by 50 percent by 2030.

As tensions escalate, farmers’ unions, including the FNSEA and the Young Farmers (JA) union, have announced plans to lead a column of tractors to the upcoming agriculture show in Paris, ahead of President Macron’s visit. They emphasize the need for concrete assurances that their grievances will be addressed promptly.

The French government’s response to farmers’ protests underscores its commitment to addressing agricultural challenges and ensuring the sustainability of the sector. As negotiations continue, both farmers and policymakers seek to find common ground to alleviate tensions and foster a supportive environment for agriculture in France.

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