8 September 2000
Get GM claims in, farmer urged

By Donald MacPhail

FARMERS who have not yet submitted compensation claims after unwittingly drilling genetically modified crops, are being urged to do so.

Advanta Seeds UK, which inadvertently supplied hundreds of farmers with Hyola oilseed rape seed containing GM impurities, says it has traced all of the rogue batch.

The company reports that it has settled compensation payments with 80% of the 334 farmers affected.

But the other 20% — around 67 producers — have still not submitted paperwork to allow payments to be made.

Now the company is asking farmers to send in their claims so they can settle up and draw a line under the incident.

Were waiting for farmers to get their claims in so we can bring the matter to a speedy conclusion, said an Advanta spokesman. The balls in their court.

Farmers who grew the crop south of a line between Newcastle and Carlisle were promised 337/ha (136/acre).

Producers north of this line were pledged 370/ha.

Advanta says that a total of 5,200 hectares was affected.

Mike Ruthven, Advanta Seeds UK general manager during the crisis, took up the position of non-executive chairman on Tuesday (04 Sep).

He praised the UK seed Certification Scheme which he said ensured full traceability and acknowledged the invaluable help and co-operation from seed merchants.

Mr Ruthven added that the company has made verification visits to ensure that the rogue crops have been destroyed.

Advanta believes the contamination was caused by cross-pollination from GM crops in Canada where the seed was grown.