By Olivia Cooper

DEFRA is offering grants totalling 2m in the third round of the Agriculture Development Scheme, launched on Friday, August 31.

The ADS awards up to 50% of non-capital costs for projects designed to improve the marketing performance and competitiveness of sectors affected by foot-and-mouth.

Originally launched in 1999, the ADS has provided 7m in grants so far, with a minimum payout of 10,000 up to a maximum of 150,000.

“We are looking to the whole of the food chain to bring forward imaginative and forward-looking proposals that will help establish a healthier and more viable industry for the future,” said Junior DEFRA minister, Lord Whitty.

The closing date for applications is October 31, and the awards are expected to be announced in January 2002.

For more information call Lorraine Derrick on (0207) 72708554.