22 May 1998

NFU claims levy payers denied research data

LEVY payers are being denied the chance to implement valuable research to improve their competitiveness because research funded by levys, or funded by MAFF, is either delayed or goes unpublished.

NFU pigs committee chairman, Graham England, is calling for the appointment of an independent research co-ordinator to look after the interests of levy payers. "There is greater awareness for the need of near-market research to be put into practice," said Mr England.

That call is echoed by BPA chief executive, Grenville Welsh, who believes there has been too much wastage in previous research either through repetition, delayed or non-reporting, and a failure to prioritise research.

"We cant close the door on wasted research in the past, but it is time to pull down the shutter on waste in future," he said.

But Mr Welsh believes the MLC, which plays a big role in co-ordinating research funded by levy payers, could not take up the position, as it has a vested interest in conducting research.

The likely cost of a co-ordinator would be £50,000 a year, but the BPA maintains it is a small price to pay. However, NFU sources want the government to fund the co-ordinator, as they claim precious little levy money is spent on research already.

But Cambac researcher, Weston Carlyle, says while researchers could do more to get near-market and even some fundamental research out into the public domain, producers should make a point of going to see levy-funded research and the results that are being achieved.

"Some producers cant be bothered to come to national events, such as the Pig and Poultry Fair, so it is not all the fault of researchers," he added.

Graham England… Wants to see an independent research co-ordinator.