Farmers welcome Advanta GM deal
By FWi staff
FARMERS leaders have welcomed the news that Advanta Seeds will pay 1.7 million to growers who unwittingly planted genetically modified crops.
About 4700ha (11,600 acres) of oilseed rape were sown this spring by up to 600 producers after Advanta supplied farmers with GM-contaminated seed.
Farmers who grew the crop south of a line between Newcastle and Carlisle will receive 337/ha (136/acre), the company said on Wednesday (5 July).
Producers north of the line will receive a higher rate of 370/ha to account for the higher output potential for oilseed rape because of longer daylight hours.
The deal was agreed after talks with both the National Farmers Union of England and Wales (NFU) and the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS).
Ben Gill, NFU president, said: “We are satisfied that the offer they have made is reasonable in terms of current losses.”
He added: “We believe the affected farmers will see this as a fair settlement. It provides a speedy solution.”
Jim Walker, NFUS president, said: “We regard the offer as fair compensation for the losses and additional costs which most growers have suffered.”
Advanta officials refused to confirm the total payout but, assuming 60% of the crop was grown in Scotland, it works out at about 1.68m.
Money will be paid in addition to support payments for the crop, which Brussels has agreed can still be paid even if producers destroy the plants.
Advanta said it acknowledged no liability, but had “taken this step in the interest of its merchants and their farmer customers”.
It has sent a letter to all registered growers of the crop advising them of the steps which should be taken to obtain the compensation package.