Everyone in Europe supports the farmers, but it's often just too expensive to buy French-grown food

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Truck driver Jeremy Donf understands French farmers are struggling and he wants to support section nutrient producers. But for illustration galore consumers, buying French produced nutrient isn’t ever an option.

Farmer protests crossed Europe this week have highlighted really farmers and households are some hurting these days because of aggregate factors, including persistent inflation, precocious liking rates and volatile power prices.

“We understand their anger because we worth farmers. What are we going to do if they are not here? We won’t eat. Such protests are important,” Donf said.

But arsenic he weighed Spanish-grown lemons successful his suburban Paris supermarket, Donf noted that astir of nan nutrient astir him was imported. And erstwhile French-grown nutrient is available, not everyone tin spend it. In a Paris marketplace this week, Moroccan clementines and Polish mushrooms costs astir half nan value of their French counterparts.

The husbandman protests drew wide nationalist support successful France, moreover from truckers for illustration Donf whose livelihood was threatened by nan road blockades that were portion of nan protests. Donf lives successful nan Paris suburb of Boussy-Saint-Antoine but comes from nan French Indian Ocean land of Reunion, wherever farming is important and galore group bargain straight from section farmers.

Governments including France, Spain and Greece agreed successful caller days to pump hundreds of millions of euros into nan farming assemblage to calm nan protesters. The EU besides granted concessions to farmers, delicate to elector concerns up of European Parliament elections successful June.

At a adjacent farmers’ marketplace this week, respective shoppers specifically chose much costly French nutrient and vegetables complete cheaper imports, successful portion spurred by nan caller protests.

“I americium good alert that it’s not easy for immoderate group to walk much money connected food, but since my pension allows maine to do it, I decided to favour high-quality (French) products,” said Patrick Jobard, a retiree.

Prices for wheat, maize and different atom — except rice — are little than they were earlier Russia’s penetration of Ukraine drove global food commodity costs to grounds highs successful 2022, which worsened hunger worldwide but helped farmers’ bottommost lines.

Consumers, meanwhile, aren’t seeing large benefits from little prices for wheat and different nutrient commodities traded connected world markets because the price surge that’s been seen astatine nan market store is tied to different costs aft nutrient leaves nan farm, said Joseph Glauber, elder investigation chap astatine nan International Food Policy Research Institute.

Things for illustration power costs and higher wages for labour person been “affecting each measurement of nutrient processing, each nan measurement to nan unit shelves,” he said.

With prices having fallen, farmers are getting little for what they turn than they utilized to and are facing uncertainty from volatile power prices.

That’s particularly difficult for farmers successful Europe, because of the loss of inexpensive Russian earthy gas and waste and acquisition disruption as Yemen’s Houthi rebels onslaught ships in nan Red Sea, he said.

The Red Sea is simply a captious waste and acquisition route between Asia and Europe, truthful farmers successful nan European Union, Ukraine and Russia are facing the fallout from shipping companies diverting vessels on longer journeys astir nan extremity of confederate Africa.

“Those costs get passed backmost to producers,” said Glauber, erstwhile main economist astatine nan U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Not only that, interest rates are high, making it much costly to get to bargain workplace instrumentality and different necessities. European farmers besides face climate regulations that tin thrust up costs that aren’t being borne by competitors successful nan U.S. and elsewhere.

However, farmers successful awesome economies for illustration Europe and nan U.S. do get authorities money for increasing food, while “a bulk of agriculture astir nan world is unsubsidized. And they’re competing successful this environment,” Glauber said.

Economies person slowed, particularly successful Europe, truthful nutrient ostentation has eased, but “people still deliberation backmost 2 years agone and say, ‘Boy, this this nutrient is still very costly comparative to what I was paying 2 years ago,’” he said.

Cheaper imports are a large interest for farmers astir Europe.

In France, a large attraction of nan farmers’ anger was nan monolithic Rungis trading center, Europe’s biggest nutrient market. It provides nutrient to galore Paris restaurants and supermarkets but is besides seen arsenic a awesome of globalized nutrient chains.

A group of farmers from nan agrarian southwest camped retired pinch their tractors extracurricular its gates this week, and later pushed past armored vehicles guarding nan site, starring to 91 arrests.

“I chose to travel here, because it’s a highly symbolic place, a nutrient symbol,” said Jean-Baptiste Chemin, a atom and orchard husbandman who drove location successful his tractor from nan Lot-et-Garonne region of confederate France. Nearby stood a placard reading, ”We are nourishing you and we are dying.”

When constabulary came to detain him, he joked pinch them successful his unique confederate accent that he wouldn’t entity to being taken to a constabulary station. “I already traveled 600 kilometers (360 miles) anyway.”

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Associated Press writer Courtney Bonnell successful London contributed to this report.

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