3 April 1998

Spanish order flax

ENOUGH flax seed to plant half the current European crop has been sold to Spain by Belgium.

A trade source, who preferred not to be named, said 70,000ha (173,000 acres) worth of seed had been ordered although Spain had almost no flax processing facilities.

Flax subsidy in Spain is high compared with most crops, since it is not linked to average cereal yields. Spanish farmers receive £575/ha (£233/acre), as northern Europe. Even if farmers only claim subsidy on 10% of the area they still stand to gain over £4m.

&#8226 Hemp aid looks set to survive at present levels when Brussels votes in June. A 25% cut in the £575/ha subsidy has been proposed to stop the crop being planted in unsuitable areas. Of the 87 votes to be cast, 52 are against reducing the present £575/ha payment, twice the number needed to preserve the level. &#42