To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make an application for agrimonetary compensation for cereals producers. 
Mr. Nick Brown:
In view of the very difficult trading conditions faced by UK arable farmers, the Government have decided to ask the EU Commission to draw down £34 million of the optional agrimonetary compensation available this year. This is in addition to the £57 million agrimonetary compensation already announced for this autumn. The extra money will provide valuable assistance to the arable sector at an exceptionally difficult time and follows a series of discussions with NFU leaders about the present problems of the arable sector.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he plans to complete the review of the organic farming scheme. 
The review of the organic farming scheme was launched in December 1999 and is now completed. I am grateful to all those individuals and organisations who contributed to it. A note summarising the outcome of the review has been placed in the Library.
We have carefully considered the extent to which changes needed to be made to the scheme, which was heavily oversubscribed after it opened in April 1999 as a much improved replacement for the previous conversion aid arrangements. We believe that the priority is to reopen the organic farming scheme as quickly as possible, and accordingly we will begin accepting applications from 2 January 2001, with the first new payments being made in April 2001.
The organic farming scheme is now part of the England rural development programme, and its future operation will be reviewed as part of the programme's mid-term evaluation. Many of the issues raised during this year's review will be relevant to that evaluation, and we will ensure that they are taken into account at that time.
Against this background, one change is being made to the scheme when it reopens, subject to parliamentary approval. To facilitate applications, we propose to extend the deadline for applying for aid under the scheme after registration with an organic inspection body from three months to six months.
Mr. Win Griffiths:
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list chronologically the actions taken since 1997 to provide support for farmers, by way of (a) extra cash, (b) policy initiatives and (c) promotion of agricultural products. 
The Government are committed to developing a framework within which the farming industry can continue to adapt to change. Since May 1997,
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we have introduced a number of policy measures, injecting £670 million (excluding agrimonetary aid) into the industry. These measures include:
We introduced several initiatives offering extra support to farmers, not all of which cost money, but which in total were worth more than £150 million to the industry. We:
(i) paid £85 million in agrimonetary compensation to suckler cow and sheep producers at the beginning of the year;
(ii) supported the introduction of an EU private storage aid scheme for pigmeat in the face of a fall of about 50 per cent. in the producer price of pigs. Additional action was taken in Northern Ireland;
(iii) relaxed rules on the moisture content of cereals eligible for purchase intervention, in recognition of the difficulties caused to cereals producers by the wet summer;
(iv) successfully lobbied the EC to grant two blocks of private storage aid for sheepmeat to help move lamb on the market. With effect from 8 October we removed the obstacles to the export of whole sheep carcases to France;
(v) successfully negotiated the introduction of the Export Certified Herds Scheme in Northern Ireland;
(vi) persuaded the EC to increase beef premium advances from 60 per cent. to 80 per cent.;
(vii) met the costs for one year of Meat Hygiene Service enforcement of controls on specified risk material from cattle and sheep;
(viii) met the start up and first year running costs of the new Cattle Tracing System.
Announcement of a further aid package of £120 million, to provide:
(i) extra agrimonetary compensation in the form of supplementary payments under the Suckler Cow Premium Scheme;
(ii) increased payments under the Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances Scheme (£60 million);
(iii) extension of the Calf Processing Scheme until the end of the financial year.
We successfully negotiated the introduction of the Date-Based Export Scheme for eligible British beef from 1 August.
£150 million in new money announced:
(i) £89 million in deferral of charges for inspections of specified risk material from cattle and sheep carcases and for cattle passports until 2002-03;
(ii) £60 million in HLCA;
(iii) £1 million in marketing support.
Announcement of £15 million in new money:
(i) £5 million in marketing support;
(ii) £10 million for organic farming;
(iii) Review of regulatory burdens in agriculture: three industry-led working groups reported in December 1999 on three priority areas identified by the industry: IACS and Inspections, Intervention and Meat Hygiene and Slaughterhouse Rules. Government accepted 98 of the 107 recommendations made. In addition a number of other
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issues identified for review have been considered in bilateral discussions between MAFF and industry. Implementation of the recommendations is a priority under the Action Plan for Farming.
We pegged Meat Hygiene Charges: charges for 1999-2000 held at 1998-99 levels.
Announced 'New Direction for Agriculture', including £1.6 billion (over seven years) England and Rural Development Plan. £300 million of which is new money. The Plan (now 'Programme') was approved by the European Commission's Star Committee in September 2000, and launched on 3 October 2000.
Original labels on food: Following consultation, tough new guidance notes were issued on 1 February to industry and enforcement authorities. These make clear the need to ensure origin labels on food are unambiguous. They emphasise the need to pay special attention to the wording of origin and other declarations when the country of final processing of a food and the source of its main ingredients may be confused.
Farming Summit: The Government launched the Action Plan for Farming, supported by £200 million. The Plan will provide financial relief to the hardest-hit sectors to help ease the process of change. Other commitments are directed towards rural development and diversification, better regulation, improved food chain co-operation, making the best of IT opportunities and continued commitment to CAP reform.
The 2000 Spending Review provides a further £300 million to carry forward initiatives under the plan over the next three years.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what incentives are available to encourage diversification within the agricultural industry. 
The England Rural Development Programme, launched on 3 October, contains a range of measures to encourage diversification within the agricultural industry in England. The Rural Enterprise Scheme will fund farm diversification projects. The Processing and Marketing Grant, Energy Crops Scheme, woodland grants and Vocational Training Scheme will also support diversification. The Ministry of Agriculture will also be producing a guide on farm diversification which will list these and other sources of funding and advice.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales will be able to provide details of grant schemes operating in Wales.
North Sea Fishing
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which countries are excluded from North Sea fishing grounds until 31 December 2002 through accession treaties; how many vessels will subsequently have right of access; and if he will make a statement on the consequences for UK vessel access. 
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Under the relevant accession treaties, all Finnish, Spanish and Portuguese fishing vessels are excluded from fishing in the North Sea until 31 December 2002. As things currently stand, they will be able to fish for non-quota stocks only thereafter. UK vessel access to the North Sea will not be affected.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many establishments were closed within the knacker industry in each of the last 10 years. 
[holding answer 30 October 2000]: This information is not held centrally as it was only in April 1999, when the Animal By-Products Order 1999 (ABPO 1999) came into force, that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food assumed responsibility for approving knackers yards. However, since 1 April 1999 four knackers yards have closed.
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