A hefty third of French farmers earn less than 350 euros a month – a real crisis the government prefers not to speak about, Samuel Vandal, General Secretary of the Young Farmers’ Union (Syndicat des Jeunes Agriculteurs).
“130,000 of the 468,000 French farmers are barely making 350 euros a month! More and more of them see no end of this crisis, which has crippled our dairy production, pork- and cattle-growing sectors, and have to quit,” Vandal complained.
He added that providing the crisis-stricken French farmers with collective means of production would help ease the financial burden they suffer these days.
“The government provides just 3,100 euros to retrain a farmer: 1,550 euros to close down, 1,550 euros to learn a new profession or find a new job and another 1,550 to move elsewhere. Not too much, is it? I’m not sure that 4,600 euros is enough to help a farmer who is forced to quit his work,” he added.
“We also want to have a government that would stand up for domestic producers. They are now working flat out to sell Rafale fighters and warships, but they also need to work equally hard to sell our agricultural produce abroad and, most importantly, here in France.”
“We should also make sure that people start buying homegrown produce. This would be a patriotic thing to do, but the government needs to show an example and encourage our people to buy French food,” Samuel Vandal emphasized.
French farmers are dissatisfied with the low purchasing prices for their goods and with insufficient measures proposed by the government to overcome the country’s agricultural crisis. Protests against falling food prices have been taking place in France since July 2015.
French farmers have also been affected by canceled Russian food exports after Moscow imposed an import ban on certain food products as a response to countries that earlier implemented anti-Russian sanctions. The crisis has left one in three French farmers on the verge of bankruptcy.