30 August 2002

Saxon moves to aid seed suppliers

PRODUCERS supplying troubled East Anglia seed merchant Gorham & Bateson should be able to sell their crops after a move by Saxon Agriculture to take over the marketing of the seed.

The Norfolk-based operation, which claimed to be the UKs largest independent seed development company, was forced to call in an administrator a month ago, prompting fears from farmers that they would not get paid for seed grown for the company.

Saxons managing director, Guy Tasker, said his aim was to help as many of the 150-200 farmers affected as possible. "We want to market as much as we can of their crops, but the market will dictate the outcome." He was hopeful demand would be good due to quality problems with farm-saved seed this season.

Robin Ashe of Lovewell Blake, the accountant handling the administration, said the sale of other assets belonging to Gorham & Bateson, including the 20,000t a year seed-processing facility at Swaffham it took over from Dalgety last year, was attracting keen interest from various parties, including some enquiries for the whole business.

As yet, the reasons for the failure of the firm, which started trading in 1982, are unclear. &#42