Angry fruit and vegetable growers in southern France staged fresh action yesterday (11 August) in protest to supermarket retailers importing cheaper foreign produce.

Following similar protests earlier in the week, yesterday saw around 350 protesting farmers drawn from the Bouches-du-Rhône, Vaucluse and Gard départements, commandeer a toll-gate on the A7 motorway and intercept several Spanish-registered HGVs, emptying trailers, carrying nectarines, peaches and pears, onto the road.

Speaking on national radio station France Info, a senior regional official of farmers' union, FNSEA, Claude Rossignol, defended the protesters' actions and called on the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to intervene and grant emergency aid to the sector by the end of the month.

"The real question is, does France still want its own growers of fruit and vegetables? If it does, then we must be helped."

Agriculture minister Bruno le Maire has not made a pubilc statement on the protests and no one at the ministry was available to comment when contacted by just-food today.

Several few weeks ago, the French government stepped up Customs checks on fresh produce entering France in order to more closely monitor whether regulations covering such shipments were being respected.