4 December 2000
Farmers meet ministry on pig plan

By Alistair Driver

FARMERS leaders are trying to thrash out an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture over the governments 66 million plan to restructure the pig industry.

The long-awaited scheme, announced at a summit between Tony Blair and farmers leaders last March, formally opened on Monday (04 December).

But it is uncertain who can apply for payments because the scheme has to meet European rules and remove 16% of the industrys pig-breeding facilities.

It is remains unsure who is eligible for the “out-goers” part of the scheme, for those who want to leave the industry or have left since June 1998.

Another part of the scheme is for “on-goers” who want restructure their businesses with new investment. This is still waiting for final approval.

Details are being finalised to ensure the scheme complies with European Union rules, confirmed a Ministry of Agriculture spokesman.

“The main reason for the delay has been to assure the Commission that the scheme will reduce industry capacity,” he added.

A National Pig Association spokesman said the organisation is meeting MAFF officials to discuss detailed arrangements regarding the scheme.