Many French shoppers willing to pay more for food to help farmers

French farmers block the entrance of a dairy in Ancenis, 23 July 2015.
French farmers block the entrance of a dairy in Ancenis, 23 July 2015. Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Demonstrations by French farmers continued Saturday, while a new poll found that more than half of French consumers are ready to buy more expensive food products to ensure proper income for farmers.


The survey by the French Institute of Public Opinion, to be published Sunday in the French newspaper Sud Ouest Dimanche, found that 55 per cent are willing to pay more, slightly lower than the 61 per cent who said the same in 2012.

White-collar professionals and senior executives are 71 per cent more likely to accept higher prices, while only 43 per cent of blue-collared workers said they would be open to the idea.

The poll comes amid protests by French farmers who have blocked access to motorways with tractors, including access to the country’s second city of Lyon, and let pigs loose in supermarkets in the southwest of France.

The main farmers' union, the FNSEA, dismissed an aid package announced by the government this week as "insufficient".

On Saturday, dozens of farmers burned straw and tyres in the southwest department of Ariège, and spilled manure at two supermarkets, Leclerc and Intermarché Pamiers. In eastern parts of France, hundreds of farmers held protests at supermarkets including Carrefour and Géant Casino.

A government-commissioned mediators' report has found that a June agreement to raise prices has almost been reached its targets for pork - which now sells at about 1.40 euros per kilo - but not for beef, which has risen 10 centimes a kilo rather than the planned 20 centimes.

Farmers' union representatives said that there was uneven commitment to the plan by abattoirs, food processors, restaurants and supermarkets, whom they accuse of pushing down prices in the past.

President François Hollande has called on slaughterhouses and food-processing companies to make more effort in raising pork and beef prices, as the farmers demand.

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