The EU has now permanently abolished set aside in a symbolically significant move indicating a major shift in the global food trade.
Set aside, which became mandatory in 1992, ordered farmers to leave 10% of their land fallow and paid them for doing it.
The aim was to reduce over-production of EU foodstuffs, preventing the infamous grain mountains and milk lakes of the 1970s and 1980s.
However, with global food shortages pushing up prices worldwide, set aside has become an anachronism and the EU’s special committee for agriculture has decided it must end for good.
The system had already been suspended for this growing season. “The change comes in response to the increasingly tight situation on the cereals market”, said the European Commission.