7 July 2000
No strings on Advanta payout

By Isabel Davies and Shelley Wright

FARMERS who accept Advanta Seeds offer of compensation for the genetically modified rapeseed fiasco will retain the right to claim for potential future losses should the need arise in years to come.

The company announced on Wednesday (05 July) that it was offering farmers who drilled the crop south of a line between Newcastle and Carlisle 337/ha (136/acre) while producers north of the line will receive 370/ha (149/acre).

Both figures are meant to cover known losses, but the higher payment also takes into account the likely higher output potential for spring oilseed rape in northern England and Scotland, said a company statement.

The deal is estimated to be worth at least 1.7 million.

But a key part of the package is Advantas acceptance that growers who agree to take the compensation will not give up the right to claim for potential future losses that can not be predicted at the moment.

Rad Thomas, the NFUs oil, fibre and protein committee chairman, said it was right that the unquantifiable risks that farmers faced were excluded from the deal.

“We do not know what the risks are at this time.

They may be nothing they may be a great deal. It was not right and proper that a farmer should have to bear them,” he said.

He described the deal as “fair and equitable”, pointing out that by negotiating with Advanta the farming unions had managed to find a speedy solution which would help cash flow.

Advanta has indicated that it can settle all verified claims as soon as the end of July.

Jim Walker, president of the Scottish NFU, agreed the deal was a fair offer and highlighted that Advanta has also agreed to discuss additional compensation with any growers who can show their losses exceed the standard package on offer.

He said examples of such growers could include those involved with organic production or farmers who destroyed crops and then replanted with a conventional crop.

The advice to these or any other growers who feel they have a special case is to get in touch with either Advanta or their union.