2 April 1999

Fibre flax cash fillip

FIBRE flax growers are being offered an interim payment of £100/ha (£40/acre) by a Norfolk-based merchant to aid cashflow following the introduction of new rules which could delay area aid payments.

About 100 growers who have had some straw processed have already received the cash, says Goreham and Batesons marketing manager Andrew Flux.

The move follows new rules introduced by Brussels which states that crops have to yield at least 1t/ha (0.4t/acre) of straw and this must be fit to process. "We will no longer be able to make payments to all growers in a relatively small window," says an Intervention Board spokesman. "Instead, they will be staggered throughout the year as straw is processed."

However, growers who have delivered crop and transferred ownership to the processor will be paid 25% of the area aid direct, worth £137/ha (£55/acre), he adds. The first payments are expected to be made this month.

Goreham and Bateson has also changed its 1999 payment structure. Growers will receive £125/ha (£50/acre) next December, provided some straw has been processed, says Mr Flux. &#42