Additional Covid-19 funding of £4.8m for farmers in NI

Farm businesses in the sheep, pork and potato sectors in Northern Ireland will be eligible for additional funding worth £4.8m through its government’s Covid-19 support scheme.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) has announced the funding for businesses that have been heavily affected by reduced demand and prices during the pandemic.

Agriculture minister Edwin Poots said: “Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic over £23.5m has already been paid out by Daera to local farm businesses impacted, and this financial support has been very helpful in these difficult times.”

See also: How one farm hopes to balance financial and environmental demands

Applications for funding have opened on the Daera website for a short window. Those for sheep and pig farmers close on 12 August, while applications for potato growers close on 18 August.

Potatoes Up to £2m is available to potato growers. Those who have been affected by major reductions in demand for processing potatoes, due to disruptions to the hospitality sectors during the pandemic, will be eligible for the funding.

Sheep Further help worth up to £1.2m has been made available for sheep farmers to assist with the impact of reductions in global wool prices during the pandemic.

This is additional to the £1.27m that was previously awarded to sheep farmers in Northern Ireland in April, also due to poor wool prices.

Pork Daera has contacted 185 pig producers who are eligible for a further £1.6m of aid.

Pig producers in Northern Ireland have already received a £2.2m support package in January, and a further £1.6m in funding in April.

The latest NI announcements are in stark contrast to Defra’s recent rejection of the National Pig Association’s plea for support for England’ pig sector.