Channel Island farmers press for better shipping links to France
Channel Island farmers have embarked on talks with French trade officials aimed at improving the flow of goods to the country.
According to regional television station Channel TV, farmers are especially frustrated that, despite France being closer to them that the British mainland, it is more difficult for them to export their goods there than to the rest of the UK.
This is because fruit and vegetable growers have to ship their goods on the only weekly freight service from Jersey to France, which runs on a Friday.
This then means that the goods have to sit in a warehouse all weekend awaiting customs clearance, and are only allowed to resume their onward journey on Monday, 72 hours after arriving on French soil.
Yet they can be sent to France via the UK, and reach their destination within 24 hours.
"We do a lot of produce to France, and currently all of that goes via the UK," farmer Charlie Gallichan told Channel TV, "which would seem barmy."
But, he added, the French authorities were now starting to listen to the Channel Islanders, and yesterday held talks in Jersey with farmers' representatives.
Louis Du Breil from the Normandy Agriculture Department said: "We all know that Jersey and Brittany are not too far away from each other and we can both profit from reinforced commercial links for things like animal feed and vegetables, but there is a need to improve logistics."
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