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Second tranche of COVID compensation made available to NI pig producers

30th Jul 2021 / By Alistair Driver

A further £1.6 million COVID-19 compensation scheme for eligible pig producers has opened in Northern Ireland. 

Coming in the same week that Farming Minister Victoria Prentis rejected NPA calls for a similar scheme in England, Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced that a second tranche of NI COVID compensation is available for pig farmers who were affected by the impact of the pandemic on international pigment markets from the spring of last year. The NI industry was badly hit when Cranswick's Ballymena plant lost its Chinese export licence after a COVID outbreak.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than £23.5m has already been paid out by DAERA to affected local farm businesses, including more than £2m to pig producers.

Mr Poots said: “I am pleased that my Department has been able to once again secure £1.6million in support for those pig producers who have seen a significant fall in the price they received for cull sows from May 2020. I am hopeful that this funding will help, and the 185 eligible pig producers will submit an application to offset their loss.

UFU pork and bacon chairman Glenn Cuddy welcomed the announcement. “We’re delighted and thankful to Minister Poots for taking our concerns on board earlier in the year and for providing necessary support for the sector," he said.

"This announcement follows a very lengthy period of lobbying involving constructive discussions between our pork and bacon committee, Minister Poots and DAERA officials.

“The price of cull sows suffered an extended depression because of COVID-19 related factors and this funding will provide essential support to our pig producers helping to sustain farm businesses."