Protesting French farmers spray manure on cars

Protesting French farmers spray straw on cars. © Pol Emile/Mile/Sipa/Rex

Angry French farmers sprayed cars with straw and blocked roads during further protests over low prices for their produce and cheap imports.

In the latest in a series of demonstrations, farmers blocked the A31 road in eastern France and pelted vehicles with straw.

French farmers spread manure outside a supermarket.

French farmers spread manure outside a supermarket.  © Pol Emile/Mile/Sipa/Rex

Farmers used convoys of tractors and set fire to piles of tyres to block the highway in the eastern Moselle region on Tuesday (28 July). 

See also: 7 dramatic photos that sum up French farmer protests

French farmers block the A31 highway.

French farmers block the A31 highway. © Pol Emile/Sipa/Rex

Elsewhere in the region, farmers dumped tyres at supermarkets and restaurants, including McDonald’s and Buffalo Grill.

Earlier this week, farmers blockaded main roads into France from Germany and Spain to stop lorries bringing food into the country.

The French government announced a €600m (£420m) aid package of tax breaks and loan guarantees for farmers.

Farmers burn tyres in protest at falling food prices

Farmers burn tyres in protest at falling food prices. © Pol Emile/Sipa/Rex

But the measures have done little to appease farm leaders, who have called for real reforms to French agricultural policy.

Franck Sander, head of France’s main farming union, the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA), said the measures would do nothing to stop competition from cheap foreign food imports.

“The measures announced by the government are only about postponing contributions, but none of them deal with the competition distortions,” Mr Sander told reporters.

Farmers blockade French steakhouse chain Buffalo Grill.

Farmers blockade French steakhouse chain Buffalo Grill. © Pol Emile/Mile/Sipa/Rex

The French socialist government estimates that as many as 10% of cash-strapped farmers are facing bankruptcy.

According to French agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll, about 20,000 farmers are struggling with financial problems and 12,000 could go out of business.

French farmers have been hit by lower demand for meat amid anaemic economic growth, the Russian import ban on Western foods following tensions over the Ukraine, a fall in demand from China and an end to EU milk quotas.

Protesting French farmers blockade McDonald's.

McDonald’s was also a target of the protesting farmers’ anger. © Pol Emile/Mile/Sipa/Rex

One French farming union worker, who did not want to be named, said: “Notably, dairy, beef and pork producers are in a really serious situation at the moment.

“The prices which they are being paid are too low to the extent that they can’t even cover their costs of production. Many are producing food at a loss.

“Over several months and weeks, farmers have been left is a dire economic situation which is on the verge of explosion.”

French farmers blockade main roads in France

Some of France’s busiest roads were brought to a standstill by the protests. © Pol Emile/Mile/Sipa/Rex

Struggling British farmers staged a French-style rolling road tractor protest on the A50 in Staffordshire last Friday (24 July).

Supermarket food price wars, oversupply of dairy products and low milk and lamb prices, in particular, have left many UK farmers teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.