Retail chains and independent shops that continue to sell locally produced food throughout the Covid-19 pandemic have been praised for their efforts.
Their commitment to supplying consumers with high-quality local produce has filtered down the supply chain, helping to sustain family-run farming businesses across the country during these unprecedented times, according to the Ulster Farmers’ Union.
The UFU presidential team said, “The support of retail chains and independent shops has been crucial during this pandemic and has not gone unnoticed.”
“As a country, we are facing these turbulent times together and we must work in unity, doing what we can to help one another.”
“Local farmers are facing numerous challenges daily as a result of COVID-19, yet they continue to work endlessly, producing high-quality food for the nation.”
Farmers ensure product gets moved off-farm so that shop shelves remain stocked and consumers can purchase goods when they need to, the statement added.
“It’s uplifting to see stores choosing local and respecting the efforts of our farmers who are doing their best to provide food at this difficult time.”
The team outlined that by choosing local, merchants are helping to safeguard food security in Northern Ireland. “Their consumers are also reaping the benefits as our farmers adhere to some of the highest production standards in the world.”
The farm organisation pointed out that Northern Ireland has a unique farm-family structure and by supporting local, shops are helping to protect farmers who provide the foundation for the agri-food industry.
“Despite all the initial panic buying when the COVID-19 outbreak began, we were still able to walk into shops across the country and were greeted by an abundance of food.”
“Shelves were filled as quickly as they were emptied highlighting the importance of local food security.”
“We have a world-class reputation for food production upholding the highest food safety, environmental and animal welfare standards.”
“When consumers purchase local products, they don’t have to worry about how it was farmed or produced and are able to feed their family with the best nutritious produce.”
By choosing local food, retailers are not only supporting their local farmers, who are, in turn, providing for them, but they are also delivering the very best local produce to their consumers, the team outlined.
“Everyone benefits from a local food ethos and we encourage consumers to ask retailers as well as butchers, about the origins of their products.”
“It is important that we don’t assume that it was produced in Northern Ireland,” the UFU presidential team concluded.