French farmers have targeted Aldi and Lidl in protest of their ‘unfairly’ low prices – as British growers warn thousands of pounds worth of fresh produce may have to be dumped over delays caused by road blockades in Europe.
For more than a week, militant farmers have descended on French motorways in their tractors as they block roads and set fire to hay bales in a bid to ‘starve Paris’ unless the government act.
Activists have choked off major motorways in an intensifying standoff with the government over working conditions, incomes, red tape and environmental policies. They say the policies undermine their ability to compete with other countries.
The protests follow similar action in other European countries, including Germanyand Poland, ahead of European Parliament elections in June in which the far right, for whom farmers represent a growing constituency, is seen making gains.
This morning, farmers from the Confederation paysanne union blocked the entrance to an Aldi distribution hub in Cavaillon, south-eastern France, hours after lighting fire to rubbish at a Lidl in Beaucaire in the Gard.
‘We want to blockade the logistics platforms to demand a better sharing of added value, as supermarkets made big profits in the last half of the year and we never saw any of it,’ an unnamed spokesman told BFM TV.
‘We’re asking them to increase our prices without passing them on to the consumer, to reduce their margins in fact. We will stay as long as necessary.
It comes after around 20 farmers last night dumped rubbish in front of a Lidl logistics hub before setting it alight and causing the front gate to collapse.
Pictures also appeared to show demonstrators staging a protest outside a Lidl supermarket in the Belgian city of Marche en Famenne.
While British growers sympathise with European farmers, they told MailOnline that the protests are ‘unquestionably’ inflicting painstaking delays on lorries delivering fresh produce to the UK, sparking fears of supply issues at UK supermarkets.
Jimmy Russo, director of Valley Grown Salads, said the UK is ‘definitely’ being impacted by the strikes. He told MailOnline: ‘We’re struggling at the moment with lorries not coming in, delayed.
‘Don’t forget this is fresh produce, and as soon as you start delaying the product then the quality of the product goes in decline.