EU plans to cancel public maize buying

20-03-2007 | |

The European Union said it won’t back down from plans to cancel public buying of surplus maize, a system that has encouraged some farmers to grow for subsidies rather than responding to real demand.

The proposal to eliminate the public stockpiles for maize was supposed to be
debated at yesterday’s meeting of the EU’s 27 agriculture ministers in Brussels.
It was removed from the agenda due to unexpected resistance, a European
Commission spokesman said last week. The initiative „will be on the agenda for
the next council meeting” in Luxembourg on April 16-17, EU Agriculture
Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel told reporters.

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Public stocks funded by the EU stand at around 5 million
metric tons, according to figures cited on March 15 by Michael Mann, a spokesman
for the commission, the bloc’s regulator. Many farmers, particularly in Hungary,
“are simply producing maize to sell it to the EU,” he said. “It’s still being
discussed amongst the member states,” Mann said yesterday. „We’ll have to find a
compromise that we can all live with, and it will have to be phased out more
slowly than we initially had hoped.”

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