An estimated 400 tractors and 1,500 demonstrators gathered in Place de Jaude in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand on Thursday.

The protest was a show of force against a national food law and CAP reform, according to the organisers FNSEA (France’s largest farmers’ union) and Jeunes Agriculteurs (national young farmer organistation).

In a joint statement, they said: “On the one hand, the Egalim law (French food law balancing forces between producers and large-scale buyers), which for more than two years has not given the expected results, with agricultural prices well below production costs.

“On the other, a reform of the CAP. The first proposals of the Ministry aim to support land instead of people. In addition, the position on coupled aid further weakens suckler farming."

Food sovereignty

The protest began at 10.30am and finally dispersed at 5pm, as French police deployed tear gas on the demonstrators.

The organisers said there will be no food sovereignty in France without fair remuneration for farmers.

“This fairer remuneration should make it possible to encourage young people to choose agriculture.

“The profession has waited too long for value to return to farmyards and this is putting too many farms at risk. The Egalim law must be strengthened at the legislative level.”