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French farmers sound alarm over suicide wave

·1-min read

A group of French farmers hung inflatable dolls dressed in overalls from trees outside parliament in Paris on Thursday to highlight the growing number of suicides in a profession struggling with mounting debt.

According to the MSA social security agency for agriculture workers, 372 French farmers took their own lives in 2015, the most recent year for which it provides figures -- a rate 20 percent higher than in the general population.

Beef producers and dairy farmers are the worst affected, the figures showed.

The Coordination Rurale farming union estimates that 1,500 farmers go bankrupt each year out of the 400,000 in France.

Many producers complain they cannot get a fair price for their goods. Others argue that the pressure from environmentalists to cut back pesticide use is harming yields.

Around 70 farmers took part in Thursday's protest.

Addressing the gathering, Coordination Rurale's deputy president, vegetable producer Sebastien Heraud, accused the French government of abandoning farmers to "the gallows of globalisation."

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