Farmers brought tractors and trailers onto France’s A1 motorway – normally one of Europe’s busiest roads – as part of a movement calling for less regulation and greater protection from international competition.

The expansion of the protests brought a renewed focus on the Paris Agriculture Show, and unavoidable pressure on the government ministers attending the event, one of the biggest farming fairs in the world.

This year’s edition, which was held in February, drew more than 600,000 people.

The French president traditionally inaugurates the show on its opening day. This year, President Emmanuel Macron did not get a warm welcome.

French prime minister Gabriel Attal has since announced new financial support for farmers, bans on some imports treated with pesticides, and a pledge to write the principle of “food sovereignty” into law.

Farmers such as Mr Christophe Rieunau, a cattle farmer in Sainte Gemme in the south of France, know steps must be taken to future-proof their sector.

Mr Rieunau said the build-up of crises, droughts, the green transition, the effects of the war in Ukraine and high inflation, have taken their toll on countryside communities like his.


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