Support schemes for pig and poultry sectors now open

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says poultry and pig producers directly impacted by coronavirus (Covid-19) will receive a much-needed boost as the £4 million support scheme opens for both sectors.

The funding is to help cover the losses incurred by pig producers because of the sudden closure of Cranswick Country Foods in August 2020.

Broiler breeders who suffered financially following a decrease in demand for hatching eggs, particularly in international markets and interdependencies within the supply chain, will also be eligible for support.

UFU deputy president William Irvine said: “Our pig producers and broiler breeder farmers who suffered significant losses because of the impact Covid-19 had on their sector, will be relieved at the news that progress is being made to get the funding rolled out to those who need it.

“Our pig producers have been patiently waiting for this update since it was announced earlier in the year that funding had been allocated to the sector, while our poultry producers awaited confirmation of funding.”

He continued: “The support package will help to cover a proportion of the losses incurred by pig producers including the temporary loss of the Chinese export market and overweight deductions for heavy pigs as a result of the closure.

“However, it will not cover the total losses that producers endured.”

Mr Irvine concluded: “After meeting with Moy Park Ltd, DAERA recognised that some broiler breeder producers had endured a large fall in income, depending on the stage of production of their flocks.

“This was due to the impact Covid-19 had on the hatching egg market as demand fell significantly.

“The funding will provide essential support, helping to sustain rearing and laying farms after experiencing such financial losses.”

Letters are expected to arrive with pig producers and broiler breeders who are eligible for Covid-19 support soon.

They will be invited to apply for the support package and guidance will be provided on how to do this.

The application must be completed online via DAERA Online Services and the deadline is Wednesday, March 24, 2021.