The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed new funding measures to support Welsh dairy farmers through COVID-19, following an announcement by Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths.
The dairy sector has felt the immediate impact of the global pandemic with the closure of the food service and hospitality sectors.
To support the sector during these challenging times, the minister has confirmed eligible dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income in April and subsequently May will be entitled to up to £10,000, to cover 70% of their lost income.
This it is hoped will help ensure they can continue to operate without impacting animal welfare and the environment.
Responding to the news, FUW Milk and Dairy Committee chairman Dai Miles said: “We very much welcome this announcement. Large numbers of Welsh dairy farmers have been hit hard by the seismic changes to dairy supply chains that have occurred as a result of the current pandemic, with many facing devastating financial losses.”
With farmers unable to access many of the Government’s support schemes due to the eligibility criteria, Mr Miles said that the Welsh Government package is a welcome lifeline, even though losses on many farms would far exceed the support that has been announced - with some suffering losses that amount to many tens of thousands more than what is being offered.
“Even though the available funds don’t fix the whole of the problem, and there will be many who continue to suffer, it is very much a step in the right direction to protect hard hit Welsh farms and the families, businesses and employees who rely on them.”
The FUW previously called on the Welsh Government to introduce support for dairy farmers hit by severe farmgate price drops after Defra announced a fund enabling English dairy farmers to access up to £10,000 to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have had regular meetings with the Welsh and UK Governments as well as with other stakeholders since March, and called for a range of interventions including direct support. We will continue to do all we can to ensure that our industry continues to get the support it needs during these difficult times,” added Mr Miles.