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French farmers will be heavily impacted by Ukrainian crisis: Marcon

French President Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference at the end of a special meeting of the European Council in light of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium, February 25, 2022. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

The war in Ukraine, as well as the harsh sanctions imposed by Western powers against Russia, would have long-term and catastrophic effects for France’s farming industry, which is the largest in the European Union, according to French President Emmanuel Macron.

The news: “If you ask me to share one conviction with you this morning, it is that this crisis is here to stay, this war is here to stay,” Macron told the Paris farm show on Saturday.

  • French exports such as wine and cereals will be harmed by trade restrictions coming from EU sanctions against Russia, according to Macron, while cattle rearing will be harmed by higher energy prices.
  • “We are building a resilience plan,” Macron said, adding measures would be taken to protect farmers from cost pressures and compensate lost revenues.
  • Grain producers have profited from a recent increase in commodity prices, while livestock farmers, for whom grain feed is a major expense, have been squeezed. The government unveiled a 270-million-euro ($304-million) pork relief package at the end of January.

What’s going on: Agriculture markets are becoming more volatile as a result of the Ukraine conflict, with Paris wheat futures hitting a new high on Thursday. Farmers are also concerned that the crisis would worsen supply problems in fertilisers, causing crop growth to be disrupted in the spring.

  • The annual Paris farm show, the Salon de l’Agriculture, is a big event in France, and it has attracted the major candidates less than two months before the first round of presidential elections.
  • Commentators in France have long predicted that Macron will use his appearance at the show to officially launch his candidacy for a second term, a reality that no one in France doubts.
  • However, foreign events, most notably Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have repeatedly hindered the president’s plans.
  • Macron only spoke for approximately 15 minutes on Saturday, after spending nearly 12 hours at the Salon’s previous edition in 2020, trying to reassure farmers about the consequences of Brexit and a reform of the EU’s farm policy.

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