PARIS: President Francois Hollande was heckled Saturday as France’s annual agricultural fair kicked off against the backdrop of the ‘worst crisis ever’ facing the country’s farmers. Farmers booed and whistled as Hollande and Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll made their way through the vast hall in southern Paris. Hollande acknowledged that ‘the crisis facing farmers was exceptionally hard, exceptionally long and exceptionally generalised.’ He said to come and exhibit in the context of so much difficulty and pain was a great act of patriotism. It is estimated that around 5,000 farmers were leaving the sector each year. The beef, pork and milk sectors have seen prices collapse because of declining sales to China and the Russian embargo on most western food imports. Grain and vegetable farmers are also feeling the pinch.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2016.
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