The Department of Agriculture has said it is committed to ensuring animal-related matters can continue to enable the business of farming to operate.
That includes payment processing, TB testing, animal welfare inspections, animal identification and passport issuing, BVD testing, controls at livestock marts and animal export certification.
Addressing many farmers’ concerns, the Department issued a statement on Friday night in which it assured farmers and agri-businesses that it was committed to providing the necessary supervision, inspection, control and certification processes that are needed in meat and milk plants, marts, breeding establishments, feed manufacturers and suppliers, egg suppliers, suppliers of animal medicines and other agri-products and in fisheries harbours.
“The Department’s commitment extends to ensuring that the systems and infrastructure on which its sectors depend on a daily basis are operating and functional, and that its laboratories are available for diagnostic services and regulatory functions,” it said.
Basic Payment Scheme
There will be no change to the Basic Payment Scheme application date.
“Any delay in inspections or change to the application date may lead to delays in payments later in the year and we are anxious to avoid this at all costs,” the Department said.
The updating of the Land Parcel Identification Scheme (LPIS) is a rolling process which will go ahead and farmers will be updated as that proceeds.
There is no reason for consumers to be concerned about continuity of supply of Irish food and drinks, the Department said.
Senior Department officials met Food Drink Ireland on Wednesday 11 March to discuss contingency planning for the food processing sector.
Food processors ... are implementing business continuity plans to deal with possible disruption
“Food processors, along with all other businesses and employers, are implementing business continuity plans to deal with possible disruption. There are no food safety implications arising from Covid-19 and there is no evidence that the virus can be spread through food products,” the Department assured consumers and farmers.
The Department warned of significant economic impacts for Irish businesses, including the agri-food sector, arising from reduced demand in key markets around the world.
A range of supports for businesses have already been announced by the Government and is available here, including the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme, which is co-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
This loan scheme will make working capital available to affected SMEs, including food businesses.
The Minister has written to Commissioner Wojciechowski following the announcement from President von der Leyen of a very significant economic package to respond to the crisis, seeking to ensure that the full range of market supports available under the Common Market Organisation Regulation are available for deployment in response to any emerging market disturbance.
Farmers and fishermen, along with other workers who are required to self-isolate or are diagnosed with Covid-19, will be eligible for social welfare support. See here.
National public health crisis
The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said: “I am deeply conscious of the impact of the Government’s necessary response to Covid-19. The measures announced are essential and we need all citizens to assist in containing the threat and spread of the virus.
This is a national public health crisis
“I urge you all to follow the current advice and further advice that will come from Government, the Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health and the HSE.
"This is a national public health crisis and it is critically important that the Government response is co-ordinated through the Department of Health and the HSE.
“However, my Department and I will remain in very close contact with agri-food stakeholders as the situation develops. As part of this effort, my Department will be providing assistance to the HSE when requested.”
Keep up to date with all coronavirus and farming issues here on www.farmersjournal.ie.
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