Hundreds of French farmers killing themselves every year

Financial problems following the drop in food prices is contributing to stress

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The Independent Online

Campaigners have warned that 600 agricultural workers kill themselves every year amid growing concern about suicide in France. 

The decrease in pay that has come from food prices being lowered has played a contributing role in the high rate of suicide in the industry.

According to the The Local, the rate is 20 per cent higher than in other sectors in the country.

On 26 February, farmers in Charoux marched to highlight the issue, standing for a minute’s silence for their deceased colleagues and leaving flowers in their memory.

One of the workers, Louis Ganay, told BFM TV he had been close to suicide after 15 of his herd of cows died in 2014.

“Getting up early every day, knowing that in a month you’ll only be able to make €200 or €300 with 80 hours of work each week, it’s a real torture,” he said.

“The physical fatigue, the psychological pressure, the bank that wants to give up on you, the death of the cows… I had no reason to live anymore.”

In the past two weeks, there have also been protests held in Vannes in Brittany, over the fall in prices of milk and pork, which farmers said was forcing them out of business, and followed a series of protests in the last year over falling food prices and what farmers say is a lack of government support.

Official estimates put the suicide rate of French farmers at a still-high 200 per year, but campaigners insist the number is closer to 600 and said the ‘taboo’ of suicide had prevented families of victims from speaking out.