NI allocates £25 million of its Covid emergency fund to agri-food

Northern Ireland’s Department of Finance has made £25 million emergency Covid-19 funding available to the region’s agri-food sector.

The money made available to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs includes:

  • £25 million for agri-food sector market intervention;
  • £3.8 million for waste; and
  • £1.5 million to support fisheries.

It was part of a £1.2 billion fund made available by Westminster in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The money was split across all eight executive departments with other measures supported, including:

  • A three-month rate holiday for businesses (set to cost £99 million);
  • £323.7 million for the Department of Health to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), cope with Covid-19 pressures and help hospices;
  • £35.5 million to be support airports, public transport and ferry operations;
  • £411 million for the Department of Economy (for use in the Small Business Grant, Microbusiness Grant, and Tourism, Hospitality and Retail Sectors Grant).

Sinn Féin agriculture spokesman Declan McAleer said: “The £25 million announced today by my party colleague, finance minister Conor Murphy, for agricultural and horticultural businesses is welcome.

Farmers and those involved in horticulture have particularly been badly hit by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and many businesses are struggling.

“This funding will go some way to helping to address the problems the pandemic has created for the sector.

“It is important this money goes to those who need it most at this difficult time and I will be making that clear to the agriculture minister and departmental officials so that the full benefit of this significant funding announcement can be felt where it matters most.”

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