21 September 2001

Ongoers scheme funds run short

PIG producers hoping to apply for the second round of the Pig Ongoers scheme have had their hopes dashed.

Junior DEFRA minister Lord Whitty told the National Pig Ass-ociation the £66m allocated to the ongoers and outgoers schemes has been used up, despite earlier reports of poor uptake for the former.

"Many people applied quite late, so the figures we had been given throughout the scheme were not indicative of the total uptake," says the NPAs Stewart Houston. "We have asked DEFRA for a statement of account so we can see exactly where the money has gone."

He is unsure whether foot-and-mouth costs and the £4m repay-able loan to the pig industry for swine fever had been mistakenly included in DEFRAs calculations.

"We will not be able to decide where any surplus money will be spent until we know how much is actually left. But it is very unlikely to go into a second Pig Ongoers scheme," he adds.

Alternative projects include market development for cull sows, research into PMWS and PDNS, and work to regenerate the UK market after F&M, like promoting and labelling British meat. &#42