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Learning English - Words in the News
26 September, 2007 - Published 12:18 GMT
EU to end its odd policy
Farming land in France
Farming land near Sault in southern France

European agriculture ministers are expected to agree to proposals to increase the amount of agricultural land under cultivation. The European Commission wants to lift the restrictions in the coming year, following a sharp increase in prices for many agricultural commodities. This report from Jonny Dymond:

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Soaring cereal prices have prompted this move, reversing a policy of more than a decade's standing. Poor harvests and strong demand have increased the price of maize by fifty percent and the price of wheat by almost eighty percent.

So the European Commission is asking agriculture ministers to scrap the set-aside rule, a policy which forced and compensated farmers to leave ten percent of their land fallow.

Set aside both cuts production and leads to environmental benefits, wildlife flourishes in the uncultivated land. But the European Commission believes that scrapping the rule for the coming year could boost production by at least ten million tonnes of grain and will have an impact on prices.

Jonny Dymond, BBC News, Brussels

Listen to the words

rising quickly and sharply

changing, going backwards, or undoing something

a decade's
ten years'

Poor harvests and strong demand
not many crops and a lot of people who want to buy them

to scrap
to stop

gave money to someone in exchange for something that has been lost or damaged (here, to farmers for not being allowed to grow crops)

land that is not used for growing crops but is left to rest for a time (to improve the quality of it) before being used again as farming land

grows very well or successfully

land that is not used for farming or growing crops


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