The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has stated they are working closely with the Department of Health and with other departments, as part of a governmental response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
They will also be implementing their own business continuity plan to maintain essential services, prioritising the delivery of essential services to farmers, fishermen and the food and forestry sectors.
What’s being done?
The Department is taking the necessary steps to ensure:
- That producers and processors can continue to operate effectively and keep supply lines open
- That the Department can operate as effectively as possible during the current pandemic.
The Department say they are committed to ensuring animal-related matters such as payment processing, TB testing, animal welfare inspections, animal identification and passport issuing, BVD testing, controls at livestock marts and animal export certification can continue, in order to enable the business of farming to operate.
Processors and Agri-businesses
The department will also endeavour to provide Agri-businesses, such as meat and milk plants, marts, breeding establishments, feed manufacturers and suppliers, with the necessary services such as departmental supervision, inspection, control and certification to operate.
Basic Payment Scheme
The Basic Payment Scheme application date will not be changed, according to the DAFM. 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 SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme is available to farmers and businesses that may struggle during this period. This scheme is co-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and will make working capital available to impacted small and medium enterprises, including food businesses.
The DAFM say 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. For more information on this, click here.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Minister Michael Creed T.D., has engaged with the main stakeholder organisations, to discuss contingency planning and priorities.
Minister Creed stated, “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.”
“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.”
“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.”
The statement concluded that farmers should remember to observe basic biosecurity protocols and safety rules when working on the farm.