France pledges aid for struggling vegetable growers

The French government has promised aid for the country’s vegetable growers who are struggling with falling prices and a Russian trade embargo on their products.

French vegetable growers torched two government buildings and dumped artichokes in the streets in Morlaix, Brittany, on Friday 19 September, as part of a protest against falling living standards.

On Wednesday (24 September), French agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll met vegetable producers in Paris to discuss a package of measures to help them and stave off the threat of future protests.

“I hope that the farmers facing the most difficulties will get help from next week,” Mr Le Foll told reporters after the meeting.

To mitigate the effect of the Russian trade embargo, the minister said he had asked the European Commission to extend the list of products eligible for exceptional EU aid to cover the main list of vegetables grown in Brittany, which includes artichokes, cauliflower and broccoli.

He also announced measures to delay social security payments for struggling vegetable growers and asked banks to take into account those with cashflow problems.

These measures, among others, will be put in place from Friday (26 September) for all of France’s fruit and vegetable growers, said Mr Le Foll.

Jean-Francois Jacob, president of a group of vegetable growers in Finistere, Brittany, said he was “satisfied” with the aid package and called on farmers to “keep their calm”.