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French farmers block refineries, fuel depots over imports for biofuel plant

13 June 2018

Total's decision to import palm oil for biofuel refinery was only "the last straw", she added.

French authorities last month gave Total permission to use palm oil as one of the feedstocks at its La Mede biofuel refinery in southern France, infuriating farmers who grow local oilseed crops such as rapeseed and environmentalists who blame palm oil cultivation for deforestation in south-east Asia.

The company has said that no more than 50 percent of raw material used at the facility will be imported palm oil, and that all suppliers will be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

"France imports several products that don't respect the rules applied to French farmers". Palm oil is cheaper than rapeseed oil.

The protests are a sign of growing anger in France's farming communities which have so far not mobilised in large numbers against the government of President Emmanuel Macron since his election.

No impact from farmers' blockade on refinery operations - Total
French farmers start refinery blockade over palm oil imports

Public sector workers and railway staff have held regular demonstrations and strikes against the pro-business reforms introduced by the new centrist government since May 2017. It said on Monday morning the blockade by farmers had not had an impact on operations.

PARIS, June 11 (Reuters) - France wants to cap and progressively cut palm oil imports and will propose to do so at a European level, a junior minister said on Monday, as farmers block refineries across the country in protest against use of the vegetable oil in biofuels. "It is not by blocking refineries that we are going to find adequate solutions", Travert told French RTL radio.

He also said there was no risk of a shortage of gasoline from the refinery blockades, though farmers have warned they are prepared for a long strike.

"We're going to ask our members to suspend with immediate effect their blockade of the different sites", Jeremy Decerle, leader of the FNSEA's youth-wing, told reporters.

"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.

French farmers block refineries, fuel depots over imports for biofuel plant