EU plans farm sector shake-up in face of record food prices
The European Commission was to recommend on Tuesday a shake-up of Europe's farm sector to crank up production in the face soaring demand, with Britain and France braced for battle over hand-outs to farmers.
With food prices rocketing worldwide on tight supplies, the European Union's executive arm wants to encourage farmers to produce more after years of trying to rein in chronic overproduction.
Even though prices of farm products have eased off recent peaks, they remain at historically high levels amid rising demand in China and India with wheat up 84 percent over one year, maize 21 percent and butter 21 percent.
According to drafts, the commission's proposals focus on phasing out milk quotas and scrapping rules on keeping land fallow, which it hopes would bring four to five million hectares (10-12 million acres) of idle fields into production.