The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed the pig support scheme of up to £1.6 million for local pig farmers. It was announced yesterday (23 November) by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and follows immense lobbying efforts by the UFU on behalf of its members.
UFU pork and bacon chair Edgar Carson said, “It will be a huge relief to our pig producers to learn that DAERA will be issuing much-needed support to help sustain their farm businesses and the pork industry as a whole. At the end of summer 2021, the UFU initiated an application stressing the need for further support for the Northern Ireland pig sector to the Agriculture Minister at the time, Edwin Poots MLA, following an ongoing period of financial losses due to the Ukraine war. Our pig farmers endured hefty increases to input costs including feed and energy, and were struggling to absorb the extra expense. The market price for pigs was too slow to react and the return they were receiving was simply not enough to cover production costs never mind keep a business afloat and support a home.
“To help secure the pig support that was needed urgently, the UFU pork and bacon committee put all their efforts into the cause, preparing a detailed application and hosted the Agriculture Minister on a local pig farm so he could see the extent of the heavy losses first-hand. Following the visit, the Minister considered the case and prior to leaving office, gave DAERA officials direction to support the sector. Although the support will not be enough to cover all the losses incurred, it will be very beneficial for cashflow providing support to many businesses and farm families.”