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Milk Price Plummet Sees Farmers Seething

Farmer protests are spreading around Europe, with six roads blockaded in France, along with food trucks carrying imported produce turned back. The UK is now seeing protests congest motorways there too. The A50 road protest has focused more on milk than the French protests. The UK’s largest farmer organisation the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), have not backed these occurrences. A spark in the UK was a further milk price drop. Arla Foods amba, a co-operative owned by 3000 diary farmers, announced yet another cut in price paid, reducing the standard litre price to 23.01 pence per litre, or about 32 euro cents. Dairy farmers are growing increasingly frustrated by the milk price crises. All across the EU, prices are plummeting. In Ireland, the price is 10-12 cent lower than the same time in 2014, typically 28c per litre from some companies, with similar stories  from Germany, Lithuania and elsewhere on the Continent. “We should have learned our lesson by now, but we keep producing ever more milk, anticipating Russia and China to re-enter the market, whilst farm-gate milk prices […]

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Protesting farmers block Franco-German border

More than 1,000 French farmers blocked the border between France and Germany at six points on Monday, as part of an ongoing wave of protests by French livestock producers over below cost farmgate prices. Starting on Sunday night, the federation of farmers’ unions (FDSEA) in the Lower Rhine blocked five bridges over the river and another border crossing with tractors and improvised barricades. “We’re letting all cars through and lorries out of France,” a union spokesman told journalists, adding that foreign lorries carrying food imports would be blocked. The farming unions are encouraged by the public support they enjoy: “The French are prepared to pay more, which is encouraging,” Xavier Beulin, the national farmers’ union leader, told journalists.  This expedient half-truth sidesteps the fact that supermarkets have been relentlessly grabbing ever larger margins and profiting at the expense of their suppliers and customers alike for years. During a separate action in south west France, 100 farmers stopped dozens of Spanish lorries at a motorway blockade, looking for meat and fresh produce bound for the French […]

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Does Food Sovereignty Starve the Poor and Punish the Planet?

by Gilles Billen, Luis Lassaletta and Josette Garnier Globalisation is not only a matter of clothing and mobile phones. Long-distance worldwide shipping of food commodities has also increased tremendously over the last few decades. Lassaletta et al.(2014) estimate that one-third of all proteins (a proxy for the nutritive potential of foodstuffs) produced globally are redistributed through international trade. Thus a recent study in France shows that the total volume of long distance commercial exchanges of food commodities, mostly originating from far away, account for over twice the national agricultural production (Le Noé et al., submitted). However, the positive value of a globalised food supply is being actively questioned. In industrialised countries, a citizens’ movement has arisen, sometimes supported by local public authorities, seeking to promote a local food supply. This movement aims to reclaim control of nutrition, re-create social links often destroyed by the extent of mass distribution, and develop the local economy. Developing countries are also attempting to strengthen their local food supply and recover part of their food sovereignty lost by decades of […]