Northern Ireland (NI) Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed that up to £2.2m will be made available to pig producers impacted by the temporary closure of Co Antrim-based Cranswick Country Foods in August 2020.

With the site closed for two weeks, it created a backlog in getting pigs slaughtered, and had some longer-term impacts, including pigs going out of spec and exports to China temporarily suspended. Overall, it brought lower prices for producers.

The support scheme is due to open next month, with eligible farmers contacted and asked to complete a simple application form to claim payments. Scheme details and payment rates per pig are yet to be confirmed.

The money is coming from the Stormont Executive’s £25m coronavirus support package, announced in June 2020. It has already paid out almost £19m to offset losses, mainly experienced by beef and dairy producers, when prices fell in response to the first COVID-19 lockdown.

An additional £3.6m was also found within the DAERA budget to add to the fund.

Other sectors impacted by coronavirus have lobbied for support, including broiler breeders and wool producers.

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