French milk and meat farmers demanded an increase in purchasing prices for their produce and a negotiated lifting of a Russian ban on food imports from France.
The farmers complained that prices for their products are so low that they can’t even meet their costs. In protest, they are blocking roads to tourist attractions, RTL radio reported on Wednesday.
In response to the farmers’ protests, which have been going on for several weeks now, officials argue that the government is unable to regulate the purchasing prices.
Former Agriculture Minister, Bruno Le Maire, believes that new markets for French food exports could help solve the problem and that Russia is an indispensable trading partner.
Le Maire, who served as the French Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fishing from 2009 to 2012, blames the farmers’ plight on an “ongoing tug-of-war over other diplomatic issues.”
The French government has already set in motion a program to help the country’s struggling agricultural sector, but the farmers fear that the promised assistance may never come.
Russia banned the import of meat, fish, diary, fruit and vegetables from the European Union last summer in response to European economic sanctions imposed on Russia earlier over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.