16 July 2007 12:19 [Source: ICIS news]
PARIS (ICIS news)--Farmers will not be obliged to set aside land for the next two growing seasons in an effort to increase cereal harvests and balance the grain market for biofuels and food, said EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel on Monday.
The European Commission estimates that a 0% set-aside rate could encourage EU farmers to produce about 10-17 million tonnes more cereal in 2008 as global grain stocks are set to fall to their lowest level in 28 years.
Farmers should be allowed to grow cereals on land normally taken out of cultivation - so-called set aside - during the autumn 2007 and spring 2008 sowings to try and boost grain harvests, said the commissioner.
A lower than expected harvest in 2006 and a growing demand for cereals for the production of bioethanol have pushed grain prices to historically high levels.
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