BRUSSELS, Sept 27 (Reuters) - The EU's executive, the European Commission, announced plans on Monday to start selling off all 5.6 million tonnes of cereals -- mainly barley -- from its public intervention stores from the end of this year.
At a meeting of EU farm ministers in Brussels, the Commission said it would begin selling 2.84 million tonnes of mostly animal feed barley from its public intervention stores directly onto the market by the end of the year.
"The tenders will be opened before the end of the year, once the cereals production figures for this season have been evaluated," a Commission official told Reuters, adding the figures should be finalised by the end of October or early November.
Once tenders are opened, the pace at which the Commission chooses to sell off the stocks will depend on the prices and volumes offered by grain traders, the official added, meaning the sales are likely to continue into 2011.
The remaining 2.76 million tonnes of intervention grain are due to be earmarked for the EU's "aid for the needy" programme for 2011, in which member states reimburse companies that provide food for deprived citizens with stocks from EU public intervention stores.
The programme is also implemented through a process of tenders, which will continue into 2011, the official said.
EU governments are due to give their final approval to the programme -- including the allocation of the 2.76 million tonnes of grain -- at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
There is currently a total of 5.6 million tonnes of cereals in the EU's public intervention stores, mostly animal feed barley following a bumper harvest in 2009.
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