19 January 1996

Easter deadline set for farm-saved seed rates

AN Easter deadline has been set for a breakthrough on a royalty rate and collection system for farm-saved seed.

The NFU and British Society of Plant Breeders have reached an agreement on how to calculate UK farm-saved seed use. But the issue of an agreed payment level is still dividing the two sides.

John Malcolm, NFU chief economist, told the unions Council that he did not anticipate an early breakthrough on the payment issue.

"We want to try to get an agreement for Easter to allow the industry plenty of time for next season."

UK farm-saved seed usage will be calculated using independent statistics from MAFF with expert advice from ADAS, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, the Scottish Agricultural College and university departments.

A remuneration rate will be calculated from this starting point, and it has been agreed to stabilise payments for the first two years to allow the system to be introduced and consolidated. &#42