Total says no impact from farmers blockade on refinery operations

  • Total says no impact from farmers blockade on refinery operations

Total says no impact from farmers blockade on refinery operations

The FNSEA had called for the blockades to be maintained early on Wednesday after the talks ended, saying they "did not get enough".

At least five sites were to be blocked on Sunday, with a total of 13 sites disrupted from 9am Monday, Christiane Lambert, president of the FNSEA said in an interview with France Info television.

Farmers in France have blocked access to several oil depots and refineries in protest - that is organized to last three days - against the proposed use of imported palm oil at a Total biofuel plant.

The farmers also used tons of onions, wood and rubble to obstruct the roadways.

Lambert told Franceinfo that the blockades were meant to pressure the French government over recent trade agreements that would allow imports of meat, sugar, and ethanol from countries "that do not respect the same conditions of production as French products".

No impact from farmers' blockade on refinery operations - Total

Palm oil is cheaper than rapeseed oil as a feedstock for biodiesel and French farmers say its growing use has added to their long-standing competitive disadvantage because of high taxes and strict environmental regulations in France. "It is not by blocking refineries that we are going to find adequate solutions", Travert told French RTL radio.

Travert noted that the government would not reconsider its decision to allow energy giant Total to import palm oil at a biofuel plant in La Mede, southeastern France where production was scheduled for this summer.

Farmers fear that the move could negatively affect the use of locally produced oilseed crops. "It concerns South American meat and Spanish wine as well as palm oil", said Damien Greffon, who leads the FRSEA farmers' union in the Paris region.

"Our target is the state", Ms Lambert said, adding that Total's decision on palm oil was "the last straw". Some European lawmakers are pushing for a ban on palm oil use in biofuel, citing its effect on the environment.

"This proposal is a betrayal of promises made by the French Government, and others in Europe, to the people of Malaysia", they said in a statement sent by Faces of Palm Oil lobby group.