The European Parliament has approved the use of fast-track procedures within the EU enabling food producers to use all available land to grow crops.

MEPs gave the green light to the effective suspension of set aside payments next year after the European Commission proposed last week to temporarily scrap EU limits on grain production.

Under the EU's set aside rules within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), farmers must set aside 10% of their land to control overproduction. But with poor weather slashing EU grain yields and US producers switching production for bio-ethanol markets, grain prices have soared worldwide.

MEPs will now debate the proposal today (25 September) with a view to ministers formally approving the move by 1 October.

The European Parliament fears potential cereal shortages for the food industry because of this year's poor harvests and increasing demands from biofuel producers for land.