French beef producers were blocking nine out of 10 slaughterhouses of France’s top beef processor Nov. 8 to ask for a rise in prices that would relieve higher costs, producers’ organization the FNB said.
Breeders accuse Bigard, which accounts for about 40 per cent of cattle slaughtering in France, of being inflexible in price negotiations.
The FNB, which has joined forces with French farm lobby FNSEA and the young farmers group the JA, said the blockade could be for a prolonged period.
“This is an extremely targeted action on plants that belong to this slaughtering and transformation company because it is in a quasi-monopolistic position,” Gerard Renouard, head of the local farmers lobby FRSEA, told Reuters.
Bigard declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
French cattle breeders say their costs have risen around 40 per cent over the past 10 years due to high feed costs and the impact of tougher food security rules, but that prices paid to them by the meat industry have not kept up.
French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire, who told French Europe 1 radio that he understood cattle breeders’ dismay, was due to meet representatives of the sector on Tuesday.
Le Maire announced in September that France would invest 300 million euros over three years to help beef, pork and milk producers, who have been protesting against rising costs and weak prices.
To give short-term relief, Le Maire also granted 30 million euros of emergency payments to breeders and offered the early payment of three billion euros in annual European subsidies.
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