Minister Gildernew announces additional funding to help deal with contaminated feed incident
The Executive today agreed to allocate additional funding for hardship payments to producers and processors affected by the contaminated feed incident.
Speaking after the Executive meeting Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew said,
"I am very pleased that we have been able to find some extra resources for hardship payments. We have to recognise that there are very serious financial pressures across the Executive as a whole but colleagues have agreed to extra funding being made available.
"An extra £1m is to come from the Executive's budget. This is on top of what has already been allocated and anticipating the contribution of the EU this means that the total money available to cover hardship payments and cull and disposal of cattle, pork and beef which cannot go into the food chain is some £9.6m.
"This will allow us to make hardship payments to farmers of about 55% of the value of their animals. This is of course a welcome step. Taking account of the fact that we are covering the full costs of the cull also, it means that we are meeting approximately 70% of the combined cost of disposing of the cattle and of their average value. These are costs which otherwise would have fallen to the farmer.
Minister Gildernew, commenting on what needed to be done in the time ahead added,
"We need to get EU approval and when I met with Commissioner Fischer Boel earlier in the week along with Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson; she agreed to consider a case for an Exceptional Support Measure in the same way as the South had to get approval for their actions.
"A formal case is being made through Defra to the Commission and we hope that this can be considered quickly so that the cull can begin." CRÍOCH