Total infuriates farmers with palm oil imports

French farmers blocked last week access to oil depots and at least three refineries owned by French multinational oil and gas company Total, protesting its plan to use imported palm oil at a biofuel plant.

French farmers blocked last week access to oil depots and at least three refineries owned by French multinational oil and gas company Total, protesting its plan to use imported palm oil at a biofuel plant. Farmers are concerned about the impact on locally produced oilseed crops. The government of President Emmanuel Macron last month gave Total permission to use palm oil as a feedstock at its La Mede biofuel refinery in southern France, infuriating farmers who grow crops such as rapeseed. Total argues that its plans call for using less palm oil than allowed by the authorities, offer an outlet for local rapeseed, and will develop large-scale recycling of used oil and fat.
Palm oil has been criticised in Europe for environmental destruction and some lawmakers are pushing for a ban on its use in biofuel as part of new EU energy targets. The issue has caused friction with Indonesia and Malaysia, the two largest palm oil producers, with Malaysian officials warning that could affect a potential deal to buy French fighter jets.

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