Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced the opening of a £4million Covid-19 Support Scheme for eligible pig and poultry producers from Monday 15 March.
Speaking about the scheme opening, Minister Poots said: “I am very pleased to report that £4m of support is being made available to pig and poultry producers who saw their income fall last year due to the impact of Covid-19.”
Minister Poots continued: “Last year I met with representatives of pig farmers who incurred financial loss when the processing plant they supplied was temporarily closed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 within the workforce. This financial support will address the effects of the temporary loss of the lucrative Chinese export market, additional penalties on overweight and overfat pigs, and the price impact of alternative pig marketing arrangements.”
The Minister went on to say: "I also met with representatives of poultry farmers producing parent stock and hatching eggs for Moy Park Ltd, and recognised the financial impact that falling demand for hatching eggs, particularly in international markets and interdependencies within the supply chain, had on the local industry. This support will address the financial impact of depleting laying flocks earlier than normal, and the cash flow consequences of longer intercrop periods for both rearing and laying farms.”
Eligible farm businesses in the pig and poultry sectors will receive a letter inviting them to apply for the support package, with instructions on how to access the application form and receive help to complete it. They must complete the application form available on DAERA Online Services from Monday 15 March to Wednesday 24 March 2021. Explanatory information and guidance will also be published on the DAERA website from Monday.
The Minister added: “I am very pleased that over £19m has already been paid out by DAERA to local farm businesses impacted by the pandemic and this financial support has been very helpful in these difficult times.”
Further information on the scheme can be found on the DAERA website www.daera-ni.gov.uk from Monday 15 March.