European farmers' protests: making noise with low supply chain impact

February 14, 2024

2 mins read

Over the past few weeks, farmers across Europe are staging protests, using their tractors to block streets and disrupt ports and borders. While France has seen the most dramatic demonstrations, similar protests are occurring in other European countries, including Italy, Spain, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Latvia, and the Netherlands. Farmers are frustrated with perceived strict trade regulations and bureaucracy imposed by the European Union, the sharp increase in fertiliser and energy costs, due to the conflict in Ukraine, and the excessive influx of imported grain and oilseed products from Ukraine (a non-EU nation) that is saturating local markets. They believe that these imports are driving down grain prices and creating unfair competition for local producers. Farmers are expressing discontent with the government, stating that instead of offering relief, additional burdens are being imposed on them. According to a Mintec source, “There has been a failure to protect farmers' interests. There is no support to compensate for losses incurred due to the war in Ukraine.”

Mintec learned that despite widespread protests by farmers, there is currently more noise than actual disruption to supply chains and logistics for grains and oilseed market. A source from Mintec stated, "The impact is predominantly low, with the situation being characterized by noise rather than significant disruption." The source further noted that the ongoing protests coincide with an EU election year, suggesting that the EU government may be inclined to accommodate farmer demands to secure their votes.

In the midst of widespread farmer protests across Europe, it's worth considering the cyclical nature of market fluctuations. When prices are significantly low, blame often surfaces, with frustrations directed towards politicians, imported goods, and other factors. Yet, amidst the protests, it's crucial to recognize that high profits bring peace when farmers are content, and protests tend to subside.

Further more Mintec learned that the recently appointed French Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, has proposed a $160 million aid package aimed at struggling French farmers. This announcement prompted two significant farmers' unions to advise their members to cease protests. Attal's initiative follows a series of measures totaling nearly $430 million announced by several European governments to tackle farmer concerns. Additionally, at the EU level, the European Commission is proposing to ease green farming regulations, while retaining agricultural subsidies. Mintec commits to providing ongoing updates on this issue over the coming weeks.

Topics: Commodities
Zanna Aleksahhina
Zanna Aleksahhina

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