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EU Rejects French Request To Help Cereal Farmers

The Europe an Union executive does not have sufficient reasons to intervene in the cereal market, the bloc’s farm chief said Feb. 22, turning down a French request to help farmers hit by low prices.

At a meeting of European Union farm ministers in Brussels, France asked the European Commission, which is in charge of the 27-nation EU’s farm policy, to help cereal farmers hit by falling prices.

France, EU’s biggest grain producer, said the cereal market had deteriorated after two years of abundant harvest and falling prices, jeopardizing the viability of a large number of farms.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos rejected the request, arguing that grain production in the EU for 2009, estimated at about 290 million tonnes, was in line with average EU production over the last five years.

He said prices in dollar terms for maize and wheat were at the same level as last year, but a weaker euro currency and competition from Ukraine and Russia have hit EU grain exports.

“In these circumstances, I don’t see any reason that would justify any particular measures,” Ciolos told the ministers.

He added that the EU executive would keep a close watch on the market and would not hesitate to intervene when necessary.



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