August 8, 2008
European Union farmers will harvest about 301 million tonnes of cereals in 2008, up 16 percent on the year, according to estimates released by the EU Thursday (August 7).
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, cited favourable weather, high cereals prices and an end to restrictions on the amount of land that can be planted by farmers as contributing factors.
The commission said it expects this year's harvest to be 9 percent bigger than the average annual harvest for the last five years.
The prices of cereals, which include wheat, corn, sugar beet and rapeseed, soared earlier this year but have since retreated. In an effort to fight the price increases, the EU has eliminated a requirement for farmers to leave 10 percent of their land unplanted. That resulted in a 5 percent increase in the area of land used to grow cereals, the commission said.