5 October 1999
£80m for pig men?

By FWi staff

AGRICULTURE minister Nick Brown could promise beleaguered pig men up to £80 million when they meet today, according to an industry expert.

John Foster, who has produced a report for Business Link in Suffolk, told BBC Radio 4s Farming Today programme that £80m would be a “good starting point”.

He believes this sum would help redress “the knock-on effect that legislation which followed the BSE beef ban cost the pig industry”.

In his report Mr Foster warns that unless action was taken the industry was facing meltdown.

He said the “deep and long crisis” showed no signs of ending, despite contraction of the herd, and that producers were still losing about £10 a pig.

Many specialised producers were even more vulnerable than mixed producers and were in a “horrific position”, at the mercy of increasingly nervous banks.

Mr Foster said that the UK herd was had cut back and was “better organised than it has been for many years”.

He added: “If you look at world-wide picture, its not as fair as it used to be to blame the UK for overproduction.”