Farmers from across the French countryside drove their tractors into Paris this week to protest the country’s pesticide regulations.
According to ABC News, hundreds of farmers entered France’s capital through a southern gateway, convoying past Napoleon’s tomb. Some news sources have reported as many as 2,000 farmers and 500 tractors blocked the streets of Paris. Farmers also placed straw onto the pavement, demanding a meeting with France’s President Emmanuel Macron.
Please Support French Farmers!
They are protesting over unjust environmental restrictions on farmers.#FrenchFarmers 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/rk3CTrH7xI
— Jan Khan (@Jan__Khan) February 9, 2023
Last month, the European Union overturned a French policy that would allow sugar beet growers to use neonicotinoid pesticides, which had been banned because of their potential impact to bees. In 2018, the country became the first to impose a blanket ban on five neonicotinoid pesticides.
Under the Green Deal’s Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Union’s executive commission has planned to ensure that 25 percent or more of agricultural land across the union is reserved for organic farming by 2030, allowing for a more narrow list of pesticides to be used.
»Related: Netherland’s green agenda still threatens farming industry
In the meantime, France’s government has promised to cover losses incurred by the virus yellows (a disease transmitted by aphids). Farmers have warned that the ruling could lead to a severe decline in sugar beet planting and threaten sugar beet factories.
“For years, this profession has been badly-treated, criticized by certain people that imply that we are not doing the job that we should,” Yves Briscout, a French farmer, told one reporter in Paris.
Other news sources say that France’s agricultural minister supports the demonstration and hears the farmers’ frustration. Protestors, however, say that they want actions, not words.