No impact from farmers' blockade on refinery operations - Total

French Farmers Plan to Blockade Total Refineries and Fuel Depots

French farmers block refineries over palm oil imports - The Jakarta Post

The strikes have led to a further worsening of relations between the country's agricultural sector and President Emmanuel Macron's government. "We are disappointed given farmers' involvement", Christiane Lambert, head of the FNSEA which organised the protests, said after meeting with Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert.

Many farmers welcome the president's call for fairer farmgate prices as part of a food chain review a year ago, but they have been angered by Macron's attempt to phase out common weedkiller glyphosate before other European Union countries.

French farmers were blocking access to oil depots and at least three refineries using tonnes of onions, wood and rubble on Monday as part of a three-day protest over plans to allow Total to use palm oil at a biofuel plant.

It urged clients not to rush to petrol stations to fill their tanks, which could spark panic buying and shortages.

The move is aimed at reducing the use of palm oil blamed for causing deforestation in southeast Asia, he said.

According to the farmers, these measures show the "government incoherence", which encourages the union to improve its performance while approving worldwide trade agreements that provoke a distortion of competition.

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The move came after the French energy giant Total made a decision to use a cheaper, imported palm oil at its biofuel plant.

"I want Total and biofuel producers to reach an agreement on a base price and a contract that will benefit rapeseed producers", Travert said, adding there was no risk of a shortage of petrol due to the movement.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the two largest producers of palm oil.

Total's decision was "the last straw", she said in an interview with Franceinfo television.

While the European Parliament has chose to ban palm oil imports by 2021, France recently gave the go-ahead for a biorefinery owned by Total, a move that prompted many critics.

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