Ulster Grocer

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£2m pig support scheme to open this week


A new support package worth up to £2m for Northern Ireland’s pig farmers, initially announced in March and confirmed at the Balmoral Show by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, is set to open this week.

DAERA said the scheme will make payments to pig producers suffering price penalties on overweight pigs outside contract specifications from September 2021-February 2022 due to the backlog situation on farms.

“The opening of the £2m support scheme comes at a critical time when pig producers are struggling to manage soaring production costs and are uncertain as to how much longer they can continue without an increase in prices being paid,” said Glenn Cuddy, pork and bacon chair, UFU.

“This funding is badly needed and will be greatly appreciated by our producers. However, it’s important to stress that it’s a short-term scheme for local pig farmers that will provide reimbursement for some of the losses sustained over the winter months.

“Our members continue to endure serious losses due to market volatility and increasing production costs that have been aggravated further with the war in Ukraine. This scheme, although greatly valued, is not going to be enough to save the pig sector overnight.

“We’ve been engaging with all processors and retailers to get the prices paid to pig producers closer to the costs of production. We recently highlighted that not all retailers have committed to supporting the sector during the most difficult period of trading ever endured.

“All we want is a fair price for the high-quality pork products our members produce, in a bid to sustain individual pork businesses across NI and the entire sector.

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“Products will still remain affordable for consumers while also preventing the demise of the sector which would be a massive loss for them too. An injection of a modest portion of financial support into the supply chain will benefit everyone, ensuring all within the agri-food supply chain comes out the other side.”

UFU encourage all eligible pig producers who receive a letter inviting them to apply, to do so through DAERA Online Services as soon as possible.