French poultry farmers threaten further egg protests

A French egg producer throws eggs in a mail box as he break eggs in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. French poultry farmers who last
A French egg producer throws eggs in a mail box as he break eggs in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices on Tuesday threatened repeat action following talks with the country's agriculture minister. -- PHOTO: AFP
French egg producers throw crates of eggs from the back of a truck onto the sidewalk in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. French poul
French egg producers throw crates of eggs from the back of a truck onto the sidewalk in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices on Tuesday threatened repeat action following talks with the country's agriculture minister. -- PHOTO: AFP
French egg producers throw crates of eggs from the back of a truck onto the sidewalk in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. French poul
French egg producers throw crates of eggs from the back of a truck onto the sidewalk in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices on Tuesday threatened repeat action following talks with the country's agriculture minister. -- PHOTO: AFP
French Agriculture Minister, Stephane Le Foll gives a press conference after a meeting with French egg producers on August 13, 2013 in Rennes, western France. French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices
French Agriculture Minister, Stephane Le Foll gives a press conference after a meeting with French egg producers on August 13, 2013 in Rennes, western France. French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices on Tuesday threatened repeat action following talks with the country's agriculture minister. -- PHOTO: AFP
French Agriculture Minister, Stephane Le Foll gives a press conference after a meeting with French egg producers on August 13, 2013 in Rennes, western France. French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices
French Agriculture Minister, Stephane Le Foll gives a press conference after a meeting with French egg producers on August 13, 2013 in Rennes, western France. French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices on Tuesday threatened repeat action following talks with the country's agriculture minister. -- PHOTO: AFP

RENNES, France / Ille-et-Vilaine (AFP) - French poultry farmers who last week smashed 200,000 eggs in protests over low prices on Tuesday threatened repeat action following talks with the country's agriculture minister.

Last week's protests were staged by a collective of militant farmers operating outside the structure of the main unions in the sector.

A spokesman for the group, who would only be identified by his first name Sebastien, said: "Prices have to go up. We will allow 15 days for that to happen, otherwise action will resume, we don't know yet what form that will take."

Yves-Marie Beaudet, the head of the eggs section of the UGPVB, a union which accounts for 40 per cent of French egg production but took no part in last week's smashing, said his members would support efforts to boost prices by cutting back production.

Beaudet welcomed a commitment by Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll to seek new export markets for French eggs as part of attempts to rebalance supply and demand and push domestic prices up from levels that producers say are unsustainable.

Farmers have been hit by rising feed prices and a new European Union directive that has forced them to invest in bigger pens for their laying hens.

According to the UGPVB, production costs in France are now running at 95 cents per kilogram of eggs, 20 cents more than current wholesale prices.

Last week farmers in Britanny smashed 100,000 eggs on consecutive days in protests designed to highlight their plight.