8 March 1996

Levies put up after

long wait

LEVIES paid by French beef, veal and lamb producers and buyers have increased for the first time in 10 years.

INTERBEV, the French equivalent of the UKs Meat and Livestock Commission, will now receive £16.7m in 1996 compared with £10.2m in recent years.

Dairy farmers operate under a separate system and pay 0.0058p/litre as does the industry.

Producers pay 0.0054p/kg dw a carcass and its buyer does the same. Previously they were both expected to donate 0.0035p/kg dw. The new levy will generate the same income as that received by INTERBEV 10 years ago.

Half the money is spent at a regional level, the rest nationally.

"Our main objectives are to educate people about veal, improve carcass gradings, reduce damage done to hides through handling and cut stress when transporting stock," said Jose Ruiz, head of Improvement at the French ministry of agriculture.

Money allocated for communication goes to an organisation whose scientific, ethical and consumer board enables it to answer public concerns on animal welfare and health scares, such as BSE.

"People are no longer aware of agriculture and nature, so animal welfare is producing a greater reaction," said Jean-Louis Bignon, INTERBEVs director general. "They are not as hysterical as the UK and Germany but Compassion in World Farming is infiltrating. I would say 34-35% of consumers claim to be vegetarians but probably only 1% are practising."


LEVY ALLOCATION


&#8226 75% on communication, advertising, marketing and lobbying.

&#8226 5% on research and development such as meat hygiene, automated meat handling and animal welfare.

&#8226 10% on administration.

&#8226 10% on improving the grading system and traceability.

Jean-Louis Bignon, INTERBEV, will distribute half the £16.7m annual levy regionally; the rest will go towards national campaigns.