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Farming Minister Edwin Poots MLA has confirmed that almost £2million of Covid support funding has been paid out to just over 100 pig and poultry producers.

The scheme which was announced by the Minister just over two weeks ago, will provide a total of £4million to producers who saw their income fall last year due to the impact of Covid-19.

Minister Poots said: “I recognise the significant impact the pandemic has had on both the pig and poultry sectors and understand the importance of getting these payments into their bank accounts urgently. So I am delighted to say that almost £2million was paid out to these hard-working producers today.

“Our pig farmers suffered losses when the processing plant they supplied was temporarily closed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 within the workforce. 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 resulting in a financial hit.

“Whilst falling demand for hatching eggs particularly in international markets, 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 created difficult conditions for the poultry sector.

“My Department has pulled out all the stops to get this one-off payment out quickly. Over £19.6million of our much needed Covid-19 Support Scheme money had already been paid to farmers and growers. We hope to issue the remaining £2million from this scheme within the next couple of weeks,” the Minister added.