Farmers' unions in Scotland and Wales have called for their respective Governments to back financial support for the dairy industry, similar to what has been made available to farmers in England.
Following the announcement that Defra has made funding available to those dairy farmers in England most affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, NFU Cymru has signalled its ‘disappointment’ that Welsh Government has not yet taken similar action to support dairy farmers in Wales.
As part of Defra’s announcement, eligible dairy farmers in England will each be able to access up to £10,000 in support to help them overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The money will help farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions, with no cap set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available.
Eligible dairy farmers will be entitled to up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income to ensure they can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.
However, the money has only been made available in England.
NFU Cymru deputy president Aled Jones explained that many Welsh dairy farmers had also been severely impacted by the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.
“Whilst we welcome the fact that Defra has recognised this impact and announced a hardship package of direct financial aid for those dairy farmers most impacted in England, we cannot hide our disappointment that the Welsh Government has yet to follow suit for farmers in Wales facing similar pressures," he said.
We cannot express enough the urgency of the situation and we hope that Welsh Government will now act and come forward, without further delay, with direct financial support for businesses and farming families left in an extremely vulnerable position because of the impact of Covid-19 on the marketplace.
"As every day passes, these businesses face further financial pressure and additional strain.
“In recent weeks NFU Cymru has presented the minister and her officials with evidence highlighting the impact the loss of these markets is having on our dairy farming members.
We have continually pressed on our Minister the urgency of the situation. As each day passes, the situation on-farm only intensifies. We’ve provided Welsh Government with the evidence - we now need action.
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick added: “In conjunction with our colleagues in the other UK farming Unions, we have been working closely with Governments and a number of stakeholders to consider how UK dairy farms directly affected by Covid-19 can receive assistance at this difficult time.
“Our counterparts in the English NFU have welcomed the announcement of this hardship funding and we now look to the devolved Governments to provide clarity on their positions."
This announcement follows on from the news that Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has launched a new 12-week marketing campaign to increase consumption of milk in UK households, funded jointly by the AHDB, Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Dairy UK.
"The £1 million promotional campaign will help to boost sales of dairy products by encouraging the public to drink more milk.”