Pig farmers seeking share of sheep aid
The announcement last week by Cabinet secretary for
rural affairs, Richard Lochhead, that Scotland's livestock industry will receive
aid of Â£25 million (€36m) to counteract the effects of foot-and-mouth disease
was very much welcomed.
President of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland (NFUS), Jim McLaren,
emphasised the necessity of short-term funding for the red meat industry.
A scheme is currently in place for
hill farmers to dispose of around 250,000 worthless light lambs at Â£15 (€21) a
head. Â£5 million (€7m) had been allocated to this scheme, but it is estimated
that around Â£2m (€2.8m) will not be used, which, McLaren believes, should be
allocated to the pig sector, which has not yet received direct aid.
He commented that "there are around 5,000 cull sows still on Scottish farms
without a market. By diverting some compensation to pig farmers, the payment
could be around Â£50 (€71)".
In addition, he mentioned that "an amicable meeting" with Hilary Benn
(Environment Secretary at Downing Street) took place and the London government
is willing to negotiate some more compensation for Scottish pig farmers.
Farmers are aware, however, that the Â£3.5 billion (€4.9b) compensation paid
directly to farmers back in 2001 will not be repeated this time.
â€¢ National Farmers Union Scotland
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