French farmers suspend fuel blockades after government gesture

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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.

French farmers have reportedly blocked oil depots and refineries as part of a three-day protest campaign against palm oil imports, Reuters reported.

"This blockade can not be the solution to the discussion that we are going to have".

The minister called on angry protesters to sit for negotiations to reach "adequate solutions", insisting that the government would not back down on its decision to allow energy giant Total to import palm oil at a biofuel plant in La Mede, southeastern France.

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PARIS, June 11 (Reuters) - France wants to cap and progressively cut palm oil imports and will propose to do so at a European level, a junior minister said on Monday, as farmers block refineries across the country in protest against use of the vegetable oil in biofuels.

Environmentalists have blamed palm oil cultivation for deforestation in southeast Asia.

The issue of palm oil use has caused friction with Indonesia and Malaysia, the two largest palm oil producers, with Malaysian officials warning of trade repercussions that could affect a potential deal to buy French fighter jets.

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

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Hulot had said a year ago France would take steps to restrict the use of palm oil in producing biofuels in order to reduce deforestation in the countries of origin, without detailing the measures.

While the European Parliament has made a decision to ban palm oil imports by 2021, France recently gave the go-ahead for a biorefinery owned by Total, a move that prompted many critics.

The company has said that no more than 50 percent of raw material used at the facility will be imported palm oil, and that all suppliers will be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Storm chances and heat to finish out the weekend
Temps today will be well below average along the coast this afternoon with the numbers holding in the low to mid 60s. Thursday into the weekend the sunshine returns with highs topping out in the upper 90s with a lot of humidity.

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