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With 1,500 tractors on streets of Paris farmers won help from government

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Staff writer ▼ | September 3, 2015
France offered its farmers additional financial help including tax rebates and investment aid after they drove 1,500 tractors onto the streets of Paris to protest against falling incomes and rising costs.
Paris tractors
Sanctions and low prices   France to give its farmers additional financial help
French farmers, struggling with the effects of Russian embargo on Western food products and a drop in prices, say higher taxes and stricter environmental protection rules are hampering their competitiveness against European neighbours.

Prime Minister Valls, who highlighted pork, beef and milk producers as sectors facing the most severe crises, said the government’s priority was to lift farmgate prices.

The plan included a rise in government support for investment, co-funded by the European Union and French regions, to bring it to 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) over three years.

The government will also freeze the adoption of new, mostly environmental standards, allow livestock farmers to postpone all debt repayments due in 2015, and will reduce their tax bills.

“Our aim is to give new perspectives and hope to farmers,” Valls told reporters.

The FNSEA, France’s largest farmers’ union which called for Thursday’s protest, welcomed the new package.

“The government has heard us,” farmers' union FNSEA chairman Xavier Beulin told farmers gathered on the Place de la Nation.