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Swiss farmers stage protest against Coop

Swiss farmers demonstrate peacefully outside Coop distribution centres

(Keystone)

For the second time in less than a month, farmers have protested against price cuts by Switzerland's second largest food retailer, Coop.

Close to one thousand farmers blocked accesses to four Coop distribution centres near Zurich and St. Gallen. A demonstration was also held in front of the Federal Agriculture Office in Bern.

The protests, which started before dawn, were sparked by Coop's move to pay farmers less for their products. They ended without any reports of violence.

The demonstrations, organised by the Swiss Farmers Centre (SFC), were condemned by the Swiss Farmers Union, which blocked Coop distribution centres in December last year.

The SFU is waiting for discussions to be held with Coop delegates on January 27. It says the SFC's isolated initiative could undermine the negotiations.

For its part, Coop has said it does not understand why protests were held just two weeks before negotiations are due to start.

In the meantime, Switzerland's competition commission (ComCo) has launched an investigation to determine whether large food retailers have been secretly working together to fix lower prices.

The investigation was triggered by a complaint filed by Swiss pork farmers concerning the price of pork meat.

swissinfo with agencies


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