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Common organisation of the market in cereals

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Common organisation of the market in cereals

The common organisation of the market (CMO) in cereals ensures stable prices by fixing a system of aid and laying down rules for trading with non-EU countries. This Regulation remains in force until 31 June 2008.


Council Regulation (EC) No 1784/2003 of 29 September 2003 on the common organisation of the market in cereals [See amending acts].


From 1 July 2008, products falling within the scope of this Regulation will be subject to the common organisation of agricultural markets.

This Regulation forms part of the 2003 reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) and substantially amends the CMO for cereals, previously governed by Regulation (EEC) No 1766/92.

This CMO provides for a system of intervention within the framework of the internal market and certain support measures for European products when they are traded on the world markets.


The common organisation of the market in cereals governs:

  • different qualities of maize (including sweet and seed maize);
  • common and durum wheat;
  • spelt;
  • rye, barley and oats;
  • grain sorghum;
  • buckwheat;
  • wheat and rye flour;
  • groats and meal of rice,
  • malt.

The marketing year for these products runs from 1 July to 30 June of the following year.

Internal market

Intervention in cereals is managed by the Commission, assisted by the Management Committee for Cereals (FR).

The intervention price, at the wholesale stage, is €101.31 per tonne and is subject to variable monthly increases depending on the month. The intervention agencies designated by Member States (see “Authorised intervention centres” in the related acts below) buy in common wheat or durum wheat, barley, maize and sorghum at that price, which may vary in certain circumstances. Buying-in may take place only during certain periods fixed for each Member State.

From the 2009/10 marketing year, maize will no longer be subject to intervention and for the 2007/08 and 2008/09 marketing years the intervention agencies may buy in limited quantities (1 500 000 tonnes for 2007/08 and 700 000 tonnes for 2008/09.

Special intervention measures may also be adopted if the market situation so requires. There is also provision for a production refund, fixed periodically, for certain products.

Trade with non-EU countries

Cereal imports and exports are subject to presentation of an import or export licence issued by Member States to all operators.

Cereal imports are subject to rates of duty in the common customs tariff and, under certain conditions, to additional duties. The latter must be paid, for example, on imports carried out at a price below the level notified by the Community to the World Trade Organization, and on products which may adversely affect the Community market.

The Commission, assisted by the committee, may allocate tariff quotas to certain imports. This may be done in several ways, taking into account the Community market's supply needs and balance.

Cereal exports, either raw or in certain processed forms (listed in Annex III), may be supported by export refunds. These may be granted at regular intervals or by tendering procedure, using methods which avoid any discrimination between the operators concerned.

If there is a risk of the Community cereals market being disrupted, the institutions may ban the application of inward or outward processing arrangements and introduce other measures as necessary. Exceptional measures may also be taken if world market prices pose a threat to supplying the Community.


The first common organisation of the market in cereals dates from 1962, in the form of Regulation (EEC) No 19. Since coming into force it has been reformed on several occasions, in 1967, 1975 and 1992. The reform of the CMO for cereals introduced by this Regulation in 2003 is intended to observe the spirit of the 1992 Regulation, which provided for reducing the dependence of the cereals CMO on Community intervention while lowering the intervention price.

In 2007, the current common organisation of the market was supplemented by the rules governing the single CMO which replaced the 21 sectoral common organisations, simplifying the legal framework of the Common Agricultural Policy.


Regulation (EC) No 1784/2003

Regulation (EC) No 1154/2005

Regulation (EC) No 735/2007

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1784/2003 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version (pdf) is intended purely as a documentation tool.


Sale procedures and conditions

Regulation (EEC) No 2131/93 [Official Journal L 191 of 31.7.1993].

This Regulation lays down the rules for resale of cereals bought in by intervention agencies. Under this Regulation, these products must be allocated to whoever submits the most favourable bid under a public tendering procedure in which all interested parties compete. The Regulation lays down the public tendering procedure and repeals the previous procedure, governed by Regulation (EEC) No 1836/82.

See consolidated version (pdf).

Regulation (EC) No 712/2007 [Official Journal L 163, 23.6.2007].

This Regulation contains the quantities made available, for each intervention agency in the Member States, for sale on the Community market following partial tendering procedures between 4 July 2007 and 25 June 2008. This list is updated on a regular basis.

See consolidated version (pdf).

Imports and exports

Regulation (EC) No 2133/2001 [Official Journal L 287, 31.10.2001].

This Regulation fixes the Community tariff quotas for the cereal quota periods and tariff ceilings. It also lays down a number of minimum quality criteria for wheat to be imported into the Community.

See consolidated version (pdf).

Regulation (EC) No 1342/2003 [Official Journal L 189, 29.7.2003].

This Regulation lays down special detailed rules for the application of the system of import and export licences for cereals and rice. It lists the references which such a licence must contain.

See consolidated version (pdf).

Regulation (EC) No 824/2000 [Official Journal L 100 of 20.4.2000].

This Regulation establishes procedures for the taking-over of cereals by intervention agencies and lays down methods of analysis for certifying that cereals are sound, fair and of marketable quality. For each cereal product, the Regulation lays down parameters such as the maximum moisture content, the maximum percentage of impurities and the minimum specific weight.

See consolidated version (pdf).


Directive 86/362/EEC [Official Journal L 221 of 7.8.1986].

This Directive is intended to protect consumers’ health from possible harmful effects resulting from the presence of pesticides in cereals. To that end, it lays down the maximum tolerated quantity for residues of a set of classified pesticides.

See consolidated version (pdf).

Annual statistics on cereals

Regulation (EEC) No 837/90 [Official Journal L 88 of 3.4.1990].

This Regulation sets out the statistics which Member States must provide to the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

See consolidated version (pdf).

Authorised intervention centres

Regulation (EEC) No 2273/93 [Official Journal L 207 of 18.8.1993].

This Regulation contains the list of cereal intervention centres in all the Member States.

See consolidated version (pdf).

See also

For more information on the common organisation of the market in cereals, please consult the arable crops page on the Directorate-General for Agriculture's website, as well as the relevant legislation.

Last updated: 07.03.2008