13 May 1998
Home-Grown Cereals Authority survives
By FWi staff
THE Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) is off the endangered list after a recent Government review concluded that it has an important role to play.
Lord Donoughue, junior farm minister, announced yesterday that the HGCA would survive Government cutbacks because the authority was needed to further the interests of the UK cereals and oilseed sectors.
The review, undertaken by the UK Agriculture Departments, found that the cereals and oilseeds sectors will be best served by the HGCA remaining as a statutory body funded by a levy on the industry.
Lord Donoughue said: “This review has emphasised the need for the HGCA to continually improve the way it carries out its functions in order to meet the changing demands of its levy-payers and of the wider political, economic and scientific environment.
“I was impressed that the review highlighted the success of the HGCAs efforts in promoting British cereals exports.”
But while the HGCA might have been given a reprieve, the review made a number of recommendations which are likely make the authority more consumer and environmentally-friendly.
The recommendations include:
- Revision of the HGCAs mission statement to include specific reference to environmental and consumer concerns.
- The possibility of increased consumer involvement in the HGCAs activities.
- Refocusing some of the HGCAs research effort on to food contaminant issues and environmentally friendly farming.
- Increased emphasis on technology transfer to cereals and oilseed growers.
The Government contributes only £105,000 a year to the authority, with the bulk of the money going towards the market information department. Growers, merchants and processors contribute about £8.5 million annually through levies, which covers everything from running costs to research and development.
Cereal growers pay 40p per tonne to keep the authority functioning, merchants pay 3.5p/ t, cereal processors in the animal feed industry contribute 4p/ t and cereal processors in the food industry 8.25p/t. Oilseed services are totally funded by growers at 65p/t.