To read FW arable editor Robert Harris’ thoughts on this decision see the Food for Thought blog.
European Union ministers have today approved the Commission’s proposal to set the obligatory set-aside rate at 0% for autumn 2007 and spring 2008 sowings.
The unanimous decision was in response to increasingly tight cereals supplies and it is predicted to lead to a 10m tonne increase in next year’s cereals harvest.
Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, welcomed the announcement: “I’m delighted that the European Parliament and EU farm ministers were able to take such a quick decision.
“This will allow farmers to plan in good time for next year’s harvest. It will hopefully boost production by at least 10 million tonnes and release some of the pressure on the market.”
The longer-term future of the set-aside system will form part of the debate to be kicked-off by the Communication on the CAP ‘Health Check’ on 20 November.
“Now we are looking ahead to the CAP Health Check where we will look at whether set-aside is still an appropriate tool,” Mrs Fischer Boel added. “Of course we want to ensure that we retain the environmental benefits it has brought.”