Total says 3.5 percent petrol stations dry to French farmers' blockade

Total says 3.5 percent petrol stations dry to French farmers' blockade

"This blockade can not be the solution", the minister told RTL radio, adding that "this blockade is illegal". "It is not by blocking refineries that we are going to find adequate solutions", Travert told French RTL radio.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert on Monday denounced as "illegal" the farmers' blockades of oil refineries to oppose the government decision to allow Total to use imported palm oil at a biofuel plant.

Farmers are protesting government decisions such as authorizing the company of the energy sector Total to import palm oil from Asia to exploit a bio-refinery, which they consider an unfair competition with the French biodiesel industry.

Total's 253,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Gonfreville refinery and nearby oil depot, its 109,000 bpd Feyzin refinery, the 220,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Donges refinery and 102,000 bpd Grandpuits refinery were among those blocked by farmers.

At least five sites will be blocked on Sunday evening, with a total of 13 sites blocked from 9 a.m. Monday, Christiane Lambert, president of the FNSEA said in an interview with France Info television.

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Separately, junior minister Brune Poirson, who reports to environment minister Nicolas Hulot, said on Twitter that "France wants to stop the rise in use from one year to the other" for both palm oil and soybean oil.

The number of French farms decreased by 7 percent past year and their bankruptcies rose by the proportion in France as a whole despite economy growth, according to the national statistical institute INSEE.

"This proposal is a betrayal of promises made by the French Government, and others in Europe, to the people of Malaysia", they said in a statement sent by Faces of Palm Oil lobby group.

Total's initiative to import palm oil for its biofuel plant was just "the last straw", the representative added.

Small farmers in Malaysia, the world's second largest palm oil producer after Indonesia, said a move to cap palm oil exports at an European Union level would be discriminatory and a "betrayal".

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