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France - dairy farmers

Milk producers stage protests throughout France

Article published on the 2009-05-19 Latest update 2009-05-19 13:37 TU

Farmers spray milk at riot police vehicles in Boulogne, northern France(Photo: Reuters)

Farmers spray milk at riot police vehicles in Boulogne, northern France
(Photo: Reuters)

French dairy farmers on Tuesday blocked streets with tractors and stampeded their cows in towns throughout France in an effort to protest the 30 per cent drop in wholesale milk prices after they dropped to their lowest level in April of 205 euros for 1,000 litres. The French government responded to farmers pouring milk out into the streets by saying they would appoint two officials to negotiations on pricing.

The French national milk producers union (FNPL) called Tuesday a day of action even though sporadic protests throughout the country have been taking place during the past week.

Some 700 farmers took to the streets in Saint-Lô in Normandy, while another 300 to 400 demonstrated in Alençon, also in Normandy; while in Rennes in Brittany protesters threw flour and eggs at a local government building.

Wholesale distribution points were blocked throughout France as well.

The protests have spread throughout Europe, as six German dairy farmers staged a hunger strike earlier this month, demanding Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold an emergency milk summit. They ended their strike after five days, after reportedly saying they would not put their health at risk for the German chancellor.

European Agricultural Minister Mariann Fischer Boel rejected calls for a a return to milk quotas. The quotas are being phased out by 2015 and were originally instituted to  stabilise prices.