Understand the crisis in the French livestock sector

Elisabeth Fosso - 28/08/15


Over the past few months, the French farming industry has been responsible for sharp tensions leading to a special European Council on September 7th.


. Who is protesting?


The first protests took place in June this year initiated by cattle producers. It led to a meeting on June 17th where retailers and producers exposed their complaints. In July, both the dairy farming and the pig industry joined the movement.


. Why are these sectors in crisis?


Diverse reasons of the crisis impact several industries. Among them, the price of cereals has doubled over the last seven years, making it hard for producers to feed their cattle. As a consequence, the production costs of the beef sector soared. Moreover, beef producers suffered from high compliance and maintenance costs. These costs impoverished them to such an extent that they are unable to pay their bank loans.


For the first time since 1984, the European Union has suppressed the quotas on the dairy production causing a liberalisation of the market. As a result, the offer explodes and the purchasing price of the milk production is lower than its production cost. Farmers sell at loss and are less competitive than their European counterparts.


The Russian embargo towards European products harms the pig sector in France as well as a rise in the European pig production (especially Spain and Germany).


Thus, the upcoming European Council will be crucial for the relationship between the French government and the farming industry.



Source: Lemonde.fr / © AFP


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