£2m hits bank accounts of NI farmers impacted by Covid

The support is for pig and poultry farmers who saw their income fall last year
The support is for pig and poultry farmers who saw their income fall last year

Almost £2 million of Covid-19 support funding has been paid out to over 100 pig and poultry producers in Northern Ireland.

The scheme, announced by the NI government this month, will provide a £4m to producers who saw their income fall last year due to the pandemic's impact.

Pig producers 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 also dealt a blow, as did the additional penalties on overweight and overfat pigs, and the price impact of alternative pig marketing arrangements.

Meanwhile, poultry producers in Northern Ireland saw falling demand for hatching eggs last year, particularly in international markets.

They also witnessed the cash flow consequences of longer intercrop periods for both rearing and laying farms, which created difficult conditions for the sector.

NI's Farming Minister Edwin 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.

“My department has pulled out all the stops to get this one-off payment out quickly. Over £19.6m of our much needed Covid-19 Support Scheme money had already been paid to farmers.

"We hope to issue the remaining £2m from this scheme within the next couple of weeks,” the minister added.

The Covid-19 Support Scheme is a contribution towards the losses incurred by businesses as a result of this short term market disturbance.

The rate of compensation for losses incurred has been set 80 percent.