French farmers take to streets

French farmers take to streets

Peasant power: French farmers drive their tractors in Paris on Tuesday before  demonstrating against European farm policy. AFPGrain growers are the latest French farm sector to voice anger over a broad decline in farmgate prices, and their protest will be another thorn in the side of President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose approval ratings are hovering around all-time lows.

Nearly 10,000 grain farmers, backed up by over 1,300 tractors — according to figures provided by leading farm union FNSEA — converged on Paris before starting a demonstration that is due to take them from the Nation square to the Republic and Bastille squares.

“Demonstrators came to express, on the eve of the EU farm commissioner’s visit, the distress of a sector and the crisis that agriculture is facing,” FNSEA Secretary General Dominique Barrau tsaid as tractors gathered around Nation square.

France’s cereal growers, among the most productive in the world, say a cut in subsidies and the prospect of another bumper harvest will aggravate already low prices and increase losses.

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