French farmers' union calls for palm oil blockades to continue

Talks to defuse two days of blockades of refineries and fuel depots around France by farmers angry at the importation of palm oil by biofuel plants instead of buying locally produced oilseed crops ended with union officials calling for the protests to continue after their 'disapointment' at government propositions.

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France's main farm union called early on Wednesday for protesters to continue a blockade of refineries and fuel depots after the government failed to ease their concerns over the use of imported palm oil at local biofuel plants, reports FRANCE 24.

"We have worked a lot but we did not get enough. We are disappointed given farmers' involvement," Christiane Lambert, head of the FNSEA union, which organised the protests, said after meeting with agriculture minister Stéphane Travert.

Oil and gas major Total said on Tuesday that 3.5 percent of its petrol stations in France had run out of fuel after two days of blockade disrupted distribution.

The protests were triggered by France's decision to allow Total to use imported palm oil at a biofuel plant, which would compete with biodiesel made from locally produced oilseed crops, further souring relations between the EU's biggest farm sector and the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

The blockade concerns a total of 18 refineries and depots across France. Total, which operates 2,200 petrol stations, said all nine of its depots and all but one of its five refineries were blocked.

"There are some difficulties in supplying petrol stations particularly in Paris and the Ile-de-France region," a Total spokesman said Tuesday.

Total has urged customers not to rush to petrol stations to fill their tanks, which could spark panic buying and shortages.

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

 

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