Coronavirus: NI considering 'different approach' on dairy support

Farming minister Edwin Poots said the issues faced by Northern Irish dairy farmers are 'different' to that of their English and Welsh counterparts
Farming minister Edwin Poots said the issues faced by Northern Irish dairy farmers are 'different' to that of their English and Welsh counterparts

The Northern Irish devolved government has said it is considering a 'different approach' in addressing the Covid-19 impact on the local dairy sector.

Farmers in England and Wales will be entitled up to £10,000 to cover 70% of their lost income as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

But no fund has been announced for dairy producers in Northern Ireland and Scotland, many of whom have felt the immediate impact of the global pandemic with the closure of the food service and hospitality sectors.

Northern Ireland's agriculture minister Edwin Poots said the scheme in England and Wales addresses demand problems that materialised 'very quickly' in April for a 'small number' of farmers.



He said the issues faced by Northern Irish farmers are 'different' due to their 'exposure to international markets and downturn in global economic activity'.

"The impact for our dairy farmers may become evident more slowly, last longer and be more widespread, and on that basis, we are considering a different approach to address our particular circumstances," Mr Poots explained.



The minister added that the Northern Irish government has asked the UK government what 'enhanced funding' it could provide dairy farmers.

"I have also been working closely with the dairy sector and expect to receive a document outlining their concerns shortly, this will help deliver a robust case for the needs of the industry," Mr Poots said.

"You have my full support and I will continue to fight for our farmers so that we have a profitable and sustainable sector in the long-term.”