10 September 1999

MAFFcool on Kosovo sheep plan

AN overseas aid agency is interested in shipping surplus ewes from Britain to re-stock farms in Kosovo.

But MAFF officials described the idea as a non-starter when it was suggested by a Farmers Union of Wales delegation at a meeting with farm minister Nick Brown last week.

However, the aid agency has contacted the unions Aberystwyth headquarters for more information about any free breeding sheep that might be available.

To justify transportation costs, the ewes would have to be capable of producing one or more lamb crops, but these are not the ones failing to attract bids at market.

A union spokesman said the idea was for the government to buy in old but still fertile ewes at current market prices and ship them as part of the humanitarian aid being sent to Kosovo.

Re-stocking sheep flocks in the war-torn country would bring a guaranteed harvest of lambs next year. Movement arrangements could be made in consultation with animal welfare groups.