§ Mr. Durant
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which organisations will in future provide an artificial insemination service for cattle to farmers in those areas to be relinquished by his Department's cattle breeding centre at Reading.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
I have received tenders from six organisations to provide a cattle AI service in either one or both of the two areas, termed "southern" and "northern" for convenience, to be relinquished by the Ministry. The farmers in the areas have informed me of their preferences.220W In the light of these views, of the Ministry's statutory requirements for AI and of the scope for the organisations to collaborate with the Department in its research and development programme, I have decided to accept the tender for the southern area from the Milk Marketing Board and for the northern area from Avoncroft Cattle Breeders Ltd. The transfer will take effect from 1 April 1983 and I can assure my hon. Friend that there will be continuity of service. Those farmers who are affected will be informed of the implications for them before that date.