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EU issues formal proposals to end set-aside

The European Commission has issued formal proposals to abolish the EU set-aside scheme, as part of a review of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The move follows consultations held since last year, in which the set-aside plans gained the backing of the European Parliament and EU Ministers in view of low grain stocks and high prices ( Agrow No 541, p 9). The proposals would allow farmers to "maximise their potential production", the Commission says. It intends to finalise the CAP review by the end of the year. The requirement for farmers to leave 15% of their arable land fallow was introduced in 1992 and had a significant impact on pesticide sales. The rate was subsequently reduced to 10% and was cut to zero for the 2007/08 season.

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