Francois Hollande has been heckled by frustrated farmers at France’s leading agricultural fair in Paris.
The French President was met with cries of “resign!” and “get lost!” as he arrived at the venue.
Scuffles broke out at the Ministry of Agriculture stand, which was demolished by protesters.
Riot police were called in to bring the situation under control.
Several people have been arrested.
French farmers – what’s their beef?
Farmers across the country have been protesting at what they say are falling produce or “farm gate” prices and excessive bureaucracy.
They say they are struggling against competition from big industry and neighbouring countries, due mainly to Europe’s single market.
French farming in numbers
- €70.4 billion – the 2011 base price value of French agricultural produce – Europe’s leader
- 18.1% – France’s share of EU agricultural production (Germany 13.4, Italy 12.3, Spain 10.6)
- 5.6% – of French job sector. 1.42 million work in agriculture, fisheries and agri-food
Source: French government website
What they are saying
“We have been talking for a year and Hollande is not listening. We are all dying on our farms. Who feeds you all? Tomorrow, there will be no one to do it.”- french farmer warns of the decline of the industry.
“I am on the side of the farmers in the Ile-de-France who are exasperated and have come to say loud and clear that producers in France feel they are not treated like citizens.” – Dominique Barreau, Secretary General of farming union