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Seeda Offers 3150,000 Foot and Mouth Victims

by 5m Editor
1 November 2007, at 9:16am

SE ENGLAND - The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) has announced the launch of a 3150,000 support package for South East farmers affected by the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

Oona Muirhead

The money, which will be deployed through the charities in the Farm Crisis Network, the English Beef and Lamb Executive and the South East Food Group Partnerships, comes in addition to the £53,000 worth of work already carried out by SEEDA in order to boost tourism and consultancy for bio-security.

The support package includes both short and long term measures. Short-term measures are aimed at: improving customer confidence in order to boost the market for the high-quality meat produced in the region; offering welfare support and enhancing farmers’ resilience via boosting knowledge of animal welfare and bio security. For the long term, the aim is to strengthen supply chains and infrastructure.

Projects on the ground will include a drive to promote the consumption of lamb in the region to complement national and international work carried out by Defra, and projects to raise the profile of farmers’ markets and draw in new customers in the period up to Christmas. Work will also be done to guard against future animal disease outbreaks by mapping small livestock and hobby farmers and offering them support and training in animal welfare.

SEEDA’s Executive Director of Sustainable Prosperity, Oona Muirhead says; “The FMD outbreak came at a particularly difficult time of year, when livestock farmers earn a substantial proportion of their annual income from taking stock to market to sell. Restrictions on the movement of animals in order to contain the disease therefore severely hit farmers’ cash flow. The South East has outstanding lowland landscapes, which depend on livestock grazing, and a high-quality food offer for local and European markets. The action is aimed at protecting and enhancing these significant rural economic and environmental assets.”

The support package was decided on at a review meeting involving the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), the Government Office for the South East (GOSE), Sustainable Farming and Food Board for the South East, DEFRA, the English Beef and Lamb Executive, Country Land Association, the National Farmers Union, and the Local Disease Control Centre (LDCC) at Guildford.

In the long-term SEEDA aims to work with its partners to ensure better understanding of the value of lowland livestock farming to the South East in relation to the lifestyle and tourism opportunities available, the biodiversity of its environment and continuing ability to attract business.

5m Editor