Agri trading sector open ‘for essential farm inputs only’

Co-op branches throughout Ireland are only permitted to sell essential farm inputs under the new public health guidelines announced last Friday, March 27, the Irish Cooperative Organisation Society (ICOS) has confirmed.

Commenting on the matter, Eamonn Farrell, agri-food policy executive, said: “ICOS can confirm that co-op stores are designated as essential retail outlets and they can continue to operate under strict protocols.

“Co-op stores must limit the sale of products available to essential farm inputs only for the duration of the current restrictions,” he added.

Essential inputs for farming and care of animals include feed, fertiliser, animal remedies, dairy hygiene products, seed, sprays and crop packaging, following clarification sought from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The executive noted that co-ops stores can also operate delivery services for certain items “where it is practical to do so”.

He continued, adding:

“ICOS would like to recognise the extensive range of measures implemented by co-op stores throughout the country to comply with physical distancing and public health guidelines.

The designation as an essential service comes with responsibility and every possible effort is being made to protect co-op staff and farmer customers alike, while maintaining an essential service.

“ICOS urges farmers to comply with the protocols introduced by their local co-op branch and to strictly follow the guidance provided by staff and we appreciate their patience and support during this very difficult period for everyone in society.”