Breaking News on Industrial Baking & Snacks

Commission to release cereal stocks to ease price volatility

By Jane Byrne , 02-Nov-2010

The European Commission has been given the go ahead to release stocks of cereals from intervention in a move to alleviate grain price pressures.

Through the use of a tendering procedure, a total quantity of 88,112t of soft wheat and 2.71m tonnes of barley will be made available, with the Commission stating that the deadline for the first tender is 24 November 2010.

The remaining stocks will be used for the EC's Most Deprived Persons programme and distributed via charities and public authorities.

According to the UK based Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA), the sales from intervention stockpiles had been called for by livestock farmers after a jump in feed prices.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, announcing the move, said that the tendering procedure for releasing stocks means that the Commission retains control of both the volume and the price of the stocks coming onto the market, and that it "will follow the evolution closely to make sure that the market is not disrupted."

The Commission is set to officially adopt the regulation in the coming days.

Earlier this year, EU farmer representatives told this publication that it was urging the European Commission to intervene to stabilise cereal prices and reduce volatility in the market.

In April, a spokeswoman for Brussels based COPA, which lobbies on behalf of farmers in the bloc, said it supported action taken by 10,000 French grain farmers that month who had taken to the streets of Paris in a protest over cereal prices on the eve of the EU farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos's visit to France.

Farmers throughout the bloc are being squeezed by high production costs and low income with cereal prices having reached rock bottom.

We are calling on the Commission to use all the market management tools it has at its disposal to bring stability to the market and end fluctuation in these commodities,” said the COPA spokeswoman then.

French farming union, FNSEA, had also called for the introduction of interest-free export credits to ease the situation as well as assistance with stock clearance.

Key Industry Events