France’s national beef farmers federation, the FNB (Fédération Nationale Bovine) has called on its members to block the plants of France’s biggest processing group, Bigard, in protest to low prices paid to producers.

“We are confronted with a serious malfunctioning of the market which is being artificially controlled by a single operator (Bigard) and for this reason we have decided to block its plants,” a senior FNB official said.

“For the moment, Bigard is our sole target, given its position as French market leader and also for its policy of declining any invitation to sit down and negotiate and ignoring the best interests of the beef sector as whole.”

Action on a national scale is scheduled to start from Sunday evening (7 November) for an open-ended period with the FNB setting its sights on blocking a total of 10 Bigard plants in Brittany and Normandy and other areas of western France. It could also extend its protests to blockading the premises of other beef processing groups.

“Our principal aim is to unlock beef prices and we are ready for a long fight in order to obtain this,” the official added.