Agri stores ‘absolutely integral’ to food and dairy processing chains

Agricultural stores are “absolutely integral to the food supply chain and the dairy processing chain”, according to Dairy Industry Ireland (DII).

In an interview with AgriLand on Friday, March 20, DII director Conor Mulvihill highlighted the importance of keeping agri stores open, noting that such businesses are vital in supplying farmers with feeds, medicines and cleaning detergents among other things.

Mulvihill noted that a number of dairy processors are also multipurpose cooperatives with retail stores.

The director said that, at present, these stores are designated as “state critical” and so recognised as being crucial to keeping the show on the road from a food production standpoint.

However, he warned: “Really strict rules need to be put around them so they don’t become places of social congregation.”

Mulvihill pointed to the example set by Lakeland Agri last week in terms of ensuring “robust protocols are in place”.

Under the Lakeland Agri protocols, a number of new procedures are in place: there is now staggered entry into stores; customers are asked to stay in their cars until access to stores is granted by staff; customers are asked to use hand sanitiser provided; children are not allowed into stores at this time; and customers are asked to remain in their cars when being loaded with goods in the yards.