£2.2 million Covid-19 financial support announced for NI pig sector

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced a £2.2 million financial support package for pig farmers impacted by the temporary closure of Cranswick Country Foods.

The firm’s Cullybackey site closed for several weeks in August 2020 after it became the centre of a major cluster of Covid-19 cases.

Minister Poots said: “I met with representatives of the pig producers supplying this processing plant and recognised the financial impact that the temporary closure had on their business.

“To offset the losses incurred by these farmers during the time it took for pig processing to return to normal, I am pleased to announce £2.2 million support from the Covid-19 fund.

This financial support will address the effects of the temporary loss of the lucrative Chinese export market, additional penalties on overweight and overfat pigs, and the price impact of alternative pig marketing arrangements.

Eligible farmers will be contacted when the scheme opens next month and asked to complete a simple application form to claim their payment.

Further details and explanatory information will be published on the DAERA website at that time.

Over 11,300 farmers and growers across Northern Ireland have already received almost £19 million to offset the losses incurred as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the local agri-food sector last year.