Vegetable growers in France have been selling their produce at near give-away prices to protest against the government's latest anti-inflation measures.
Vegetable growers in France have been selling their produce at near give-away prices to protest against the government's latest anti-inflation measures. They claim it is now impossible for them to make a profit. Prime Minister Raymond Barre has frozen retail prices of vegetables to keep down the rate of inflation ... and the growers say they are suffering most as a result. In retaliation they've set up a market in Paris to sell their goods at prices far below the usual level.
SYNOPSIS: The market is near the St. Augustin Church in Central Paris, and the growers all belong to the Joint Organisation of Consumers, Workers and Farmers (OCCTA).
The produce comes from the rich agricultural areas of northwest France, bordering the English Channel, where growers have had a bumper harvest of crops -- but not money. They say they are being forced to sell at less than cost, and cannot understand the government's claim that they are contributing to rising inflation.
The growers maintain that the consumers have been angered by soaring prices in the shops, and they are using the markets to show them just where their money goes. Leeks for example are on sale at one Franc 20 per kilo (23 United States cents). This is roughly a quarter of the usual retail price. And the same applies to carrots and other vegetables. The producers are charging only enough to cover growing costs, packing and transport.
The organisation claims that one of its most important aims is to defend consumer interests. A shortage last year, and rising prices this year have meant a marked decline in the number of vegetables eaten. The producers have called for a reform in distribution methods to benefit both growers and consumers. They also want a meeting of all parties to help reach a sensible solution to the problem.