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The Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Department continues to work alongside, and support stakeholders in the red meat and dairy sectors, as they face downturns in market prices and financial challenges due to COVID-19.

Speaking about the issue, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots said: “My Department is working hand in glove with the representatives of the red meat and dairy sectors, listening, offering support and guidance, but more importantly, taking action where we can.

“I’ve also been working closely with farming representatives and with representatives across the red meat and dairy sectors to listen their concerns. DAERA is in contact with the industry on a daily basis and has recently received independent analysis of the impacts that COVID-19 is having on both production and processing in the red meat industry. My officials are also closely monitoring local, national and international markets to obtain information and intelligence. Both streams of work will go some way to help us develop and deliver the type of support the sector may need in the longer term.

“I am also keeping my Executive colleagues regularly up-to-date on the current situation and the need for support, so that the industry comes through these most difficult of circumstances and has a profitable future."

Minister Poots added: “We are coming to the end of Great British Beef Week and NI Beef Week and with everything else going on with the Coronvirus crisis, I’m calling on the public to give extra support to all our local sectors at this time. Buy local beef produce and give our beef farmers a well-deserved boost this year. I want to again thank all our local food producers for their tireless efforts to keep the food chain here moving and food on our tables.

“I say to our beef and dairy producers you can count on me to fight for you at regional and national level to try and get the best support and protection from the COVID-19 crisis in the time ahead that I can. Working together is the only way we will be able to ensure that can happen and I undertake to do all I can, push at every door and fight for our local industry.”