French farmers clashed with police at the agriculture affair Salon de l'Agriculture on Saturday, where French president Emmanuel Macron met with some farming unions amid heightened tension that delayed Macron’s official opening of the event by several hours.

Macron took part in an impromptu debate with several farm organisations, where he was interrogated by farmers on many subjects affecting French agriculture, including the war on Ukraine, increased environmental regulation, complexity of farming rules and falling farm incomes.

A previously planned debate had been cancelled when the main French farming organisation FNSEA refused to take part.

Le Monde reported that there were six arrests made during the day and that eight police officers were injured in scenes where hundreds of farmer protesters forced their way through the exhibition halls, despite police efforts to prevent them.


Farmers surged through the halls, whistling and booing in the face of police officers in riot gear. Some livestock stands were damaged as the crowds of people fell into the perimeter stand railings.

Macron announced that he would bring an agricultural orientation bill to the council of ministers on 20 March and that he intended to put minimum price floors in place on a sector-by-sector basis.

“There will be a minimum price, a floor price, below which the processor cannot buy and the distributor cannot sell,” Macron promised.

He also spoke about an emergency cashflow plan for farmers, announcing a census of regions where farmers are most affected by cashflow difficulties.