5 December 2000
2001 start for pig ongoers

By FWi staff

THE second part of the governments 66 million scheme to restructure the pig industry should open early next year, said agriculture minister Nick Brown.

Final approval which will allow “ongoers” to apply for grants to restructure their farms should be granted by Brussels later this month, he believes.

“We hope to be in a position to open this second phase of the restructuring scheme early in the New Year,” Mr Brown told reporters in Brussels.

The first part of the three-year scheme, an “outgoers” initiative for farmers who want to leave the industry, was launched on Monday (4 December).

Mike Sheldon, chief executive of the National Pig Association, said he hoped that the three-month delay before ongoers can apply for aid would be reduced.

The success of the whole scheme is dependent on the outgoers element reducing the UK sow herd by 16% of its size at June 1998, he said.

“This is a strict requirement of EU guidelines for this type of state aid. If the threshold is not met, the whole scheme, both outgoers and ongoers, may fail.”

Mr Sheldon said he was sure the target would be met, not least because the East Anglian swine-fever outbreak led to whole herds of pigs being slaughtered.

Mick Sloyan, manager of the British Pig Executive, said the scheme could be a “considerable help” for pig producers who want to invest in the future.