COVID-19 potato scheme will be well received, says UFU

Monday, 2 August, 2021

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) welcomes the recent announcement by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, regarding a further coronavirus (COVID-19) support scheme worth up to £2million for farmers growing potatoes for the processing supply chain. It is now open to applications.

UFU deputy president William Irvine said, “The news of further COVID-19 support for the processing potato sector will be well received by our members. The UFU lobbied continuously to get this funding secured and we thank Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots for taking our concerns on board and delivering for the sector.

“The support will be essential in helping to sustain family farm businesses involved in processing potato production across Northern Ireland, who were directly affected by the pandemic. For a second year in a row, it created a significant fall in demand for processing potatoes from the hospitality and food service sectors.”

Many growers who have potatoes stored in cold stores that are no longer of the required quality for the potato processing supply chain, as confirmed following an inspection, can still dispose of the produce for animal feed or as raw material for anaerobic digesters. DAERA has stated that ‘this will simplify the administrative process and reduce the amount of bureaucracy for growers’.

“Our members who already expressed an interest in the COVID-19 potato scheme will have received an email inviting them to make a formal application. Other growers who meet the eligibility criteria are also invited to apply. We encourage them to do so as soon as possible as the window for applications is very short, closing on 18 August 2021,” said Mr Irvine.  

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