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Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced a financial support package worth up to £2.2million for pig farmers who were impacted by the temporary closure of Cranswick Country Foods in August 2020.

The Minister said: “I met with representatives of the pig producers supplying this processing plant and recognised the financial impact that the temporary closure had on their business. To offset the losses incurred by these farmers during the time it took for pig processing to return to normal, I am pleased to announce £2.2m support from the Covid-19 fund.

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.”

When the scheme opens next month, eligible farmers will be contacted and asked to complete a simple application form to claim their payments. Further details and explanatory information will be published on the DAERA website at that time.

Over 11,300 farmers and growers have already received almost £19m to offset the losses incurred as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the local agri-food sector last year.