By FWi staff

DUTCH livestock farmers have started selling pigs and veal calves to their government under a new scheme designed to prop up the market in the wake of foot-and-mouth.

Movement restrictions in much of eastern Holland and an export ban for the whole country have led to backlogs and depressed prices.

Farmers have pressed hard for financial assistance and their pleas have been answered with a Nfl110 million (30m) package, which is broken down into three parts.

First is a storage aid scheme that pays processors Nfl1/kg (28p/kg) to take pigmeat off the market for three months in restricted zones.

“Pigs are selling for about Nfl1.50/kg (43p/kg) in these areas – half what they would be worth in export markets,” said a government spokesman.

Second is “purchase-for-destruction” type scheme for piglets, paying Nfl55/head (15.30/head).

To be eligible, producers must agree to sell all their piglets, abort all sows that are less than 40 days pregnant and not inseminate for four months.

This has caused huge controversy in Holland, not least because compensation for not breeding, worth Nfl90/sow/month (25/sow/month), was only being offered to farmers in 10km surveillance zones around foot-and-mouth cases.

As a result, the Livestock Products Board – Hollands equivalent to MLC – has offered the same compensation for all farmers from its own funds. This will cost about Nfl10m (3.6m).

Finally, the government has launched a destruction scheme for calves, paying Nfl650/head (180/head) for white veal and Nfl475/head (132/head) for pink veal. This meat will be destroyed.