Covid support scheme deadline for NI potato growers

New details of a £2 million Covid-19 support scheme for potato growers in Northern Ireland impacted by the pandemic has been announced.

The financial support package comes in response to the significant reduction in demand for potatoes from the hospitality and food service sector.

Growers who still have quantities of unsold potatoes in their stores, which were destined for the potato processing supply chain, can apply.

They must complete an online Expression of Interest form by 11 June to register for the scheme and request an inspection of all potatoes held in their stores.

Following verification of potatoes in stores that are no longer of acceptable quality for the processing market, growers can dispose of them for animal feed or as raw material for anaerobic digesters.

With the hospitality industry reopening, growers with good quality potatoes in cold stores may yet have an opportunity to sell their potatoes into the processing market.

NI's farming minister Edwin Poots said: "Final inspections of potatoes held in cold stores to verify quantities that are only suitable for stock feed will not take place until late July.

“This is the second year in succession these farmers have lost their market and this support will be a contribution towards the financial loss incurred and help sustain their businesses."

Over 11,500 farmers in NI have already benefited from £23.5m made available by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) as a contribution to offset the losses incurred by the pandemic.

Source: Farming UK