A package of help for dairy farmers in Wales hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic has received widespread welcome throughout the farming industry.
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A help package for dairy farmers in Wales has been announced PICTURE: Debbie James

Rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths has confirmed eligible dairy farmers who have lost more than 25 per cent of their income in April and May will be entitled to up to £10,000, to cover 70 per cent of their lost income.

This will help ensure they can continue to operate without impacting animal welfare and the environment.

Further details on the scheme will be announced shortly.

The move follows increasingly vocal calls from farming unions and politicians for help for dairy farmers – and comes on the back of a similar move in England.

A series of announcements aimed at supporting the sector has already been announced including:

• A new consumer campaign, led by AHDB, to increase consumer demand for milk by 3 per cent;

• The temporary relaxation of competition laws to enable greater collaboration so the sector, including dairy farmers and processors, can work closer to solve the differences between supply and demand; and

• Opening of the EU public intervention and private storage aid for skimmed milk, butter and cheese.

Announcing the funding, the minister said: “The closure of the foodservice sector has had an immediate and significant impact on our dairy sector and market prices.

“The measures introduced so far will help provide some stability for the dairy sector, but I recognise there is a need to support those farms hardest hit by a situation which is primarily outside of their control.

“I am therefore pleased to confirm dairy farmers in Wales will be eligible for support helping them adapt to the exceptional market conditions and ensuring they can continue to operate without impacting animal welfare and the environment.

“Further details of the scheme will be announced shortly.”

Welcomong the announcement, NFU Cymru deputy president Aled Jones said: “The overnight loss of the food service market as a result of Covid-19 has affected many Welsh dairy farmers.

“It is causing severe financial hardship to producers supplying processors who have been most impacted by the closure of cafes, restaurants, pubs and hospitality venues.

“We are pleased that Welsh Government has recognised the impact this is having on many dairy farming businesses and has now come forward with a hardship package for those impacted most by the current market conditions.

“The package of support will help address some of the most immediate cash flow problems faced by dairy farmers, some of whom have been forced to dispose of milk because their processors have been unable to collect it and many more having received massive price cuts and significant delays to payments.”

Dharwad Milk Union has increased the price of cow and buffalo milk by one rupee per litre. The new prices came into force on Saturday.

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