France to put freeze on palm oil use, imports

Adjust Comment Print

French oil and gas major Total, which operates five refineries and nine petrol depots in France, said late on Sunday that farmers have gathered at two depots and it had taken measures together with authorities, to limit disruptions.

France's biggest agriculture union on Wednesday told its farmers to suspend a blockade of refineries and fuel depots that had entered its third day over palm oil imports and unfair competition, a union official said.

She called farmers to hold blockades until at least the morning.


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

Palm oil is cheaper than rapeseed oil as a feedstock for biodiesel and French farmers say its growing use has added to their longstanding competitive disadvantage because of high taxes and strict environmental regulations in France.

The number of French farms decreased by 7 percent past year and their bankruptcies rose by the proportion in France as a whole despite economy growth, according to the national statistical institute INSEE.


According to Deutsche Welle, they are also anxious about emerging competition, as local biofuel producers might want to go over to a cheaper palm oil from overseas instead of buying locally produced and more expensive rapeseed oil.

Besides a ban on palm oil imports, she wants the government to outlaw agriculture imports produced using fertilisers, herbicides and other products prohibited in the European Union as part of an agriculture law that will be debated in the Senate starting June 26.

Total's initiative to import palm oil for its biofuel plant was just "the last straw", the representative added. Rapeseed and sunflower oil, animal fat, used cooking oil, and residues, also will be used at the refinery.


Farmers fear that the move could negatively affect the use of locally produced oilseed crops.

Comments