French potato farmers, suffering from a huge surplus following this year's potato harvest are urging their government to seek access to the British market.
Tractor cavalcade driving down road
GV Road sign (Saint Meloir)
SV PULL BACK TO GV Potato crops in field
SV Tractors pulling trailers loaded with potatoes
SV Trailer dumping potatoes
GV Farm worker guiding tractor and trailer
GV Farm workers watching potatoes being dumped for burial (3 shots)
GV Bulldozer levelling out piles of potatoes (2 shots)
French agricultural authorities have promised to approach the European Commission to seek a change in Britain's attitude. However, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture in Britain says their ban on new potatoes also covers new potatoes form other EEC countries at this time of the year because of the risk of Colorado beetle. He says there is an EEC directive regarding plant health and it seems unlikely Britain would be forced to change its policy. Colorado beetle attacks the foliage of the potato plant, and can eventually wipe out whole crops if not controlled.
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Background: French potato farmers, suffering from a huge surplus following this year's potato harvest are urging their government to seek access to the British market. They believe they could be ruined if a British ban on the import of French new potatoes is not lifted.
SYNOPSIS: In Brittany the potato farmers have already begun taking action to highlight their plight. This week (4 July) farmers of Saint Meloir des Ondes, near Saint Malo, buried nearly fifteen hundred tonnes of new potatoes to prevent a further price fall. They say that at present they are recovering only fifty percent of their production costs.
The French agricultural authorities have promised action. They say the British ban seems an obvious violation of the Common Market free trade agreement. Last year the European Court forced Britain to lift a ban on the import if main crop French potatoes ...which are harvested when Britain is self-sufficient. However, it was thought unlikely that the Court would take the same view of the ban on new potatoes. The ban which has produced this glut aims to prevent the spread to Britain of colorado Beetle.