UFU Welcomes Government Support Package

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Support package is an encouraging proposal, says UFU.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says the proposed support package for the agri-food sector by the European Commission is an encouraging first step. The announcement was made by Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, and the UK expects to be able to avail of the implemented support measures until 15 October 2020.

Commenting on the support package, UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “The agri-food sector has taken a serious hit due to the coronavirus pandemic and all financial support to help sustain our industry is welcome. However, this package is mainly to encourage the prolonged storage of dairy and red meat products to help stabilise the market.

The dry spell has helped farmers to work on the fields.

“It does not provide direct support for our farmers who are working endlessly behind the scenes to overcome all the challenges the virus has presented for their farm businesses.

“The EU Commission has stated that the Storage Aid will fund processors, allowing them to store products for a minimum of two months and a maximum of seven.

“The thinking behind this is that it will allow the market to find a better balance after experiencing a serious plunge in product demand when the hospitality sectors closed due to COVID-19.

“The market downturn is most acute and is already being felt by our farming families. We hope that this proposed package by the EU Commission will deliver, improving farmgate prices and having a knock-on-affect on family run farming businesses across Northern Ireland.

“However, it is important that the Commission monitors the effectiveness of the measures and be ready to come forward with additional measures as necessary,” added Ivor Ferguson.