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DEFRA delivers farmers’ special measures in Covid crisis

23rd April 2020

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has welcomed urgent special measures to help the farming industry during the coronavirus crisis.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed a series of plans which will help farmers as some of their buyers close operations during the national lockdown.

Some dairy farmers sell their milk only to hospitality businesses like hotels, restaurants and coffee shops and these buyers have stopped operating with the outlets temporarily shut down.

And livestock farmers have seen reduced demand of beef, chicken and pork with restaurants closed across the country.

DEFRA Ministers have acted to ease competition regulations meaning that farmers are able to work with bulk buyers to reduce the downward pressure on prices. Current meat prices are still higher than last year, despite the reduced demand from restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses.

Harriett commented: “This is a worrying time for farmers who face the threat of potential reduced demand for some of their produce.

“I’ve been contacted by both farmers and horticulturalists who have raised their concerns and I have been able to feed information directly in to the Department as it develops an action plan.

“I am reassured that the Government is working closely with the industry to help fix some of the initial issues and planning for the challenges ahead.

“I’ve always urged people to shop local and buy locally-sourced and grown produce and this could not be a better time to show support for our local food heroes.

“Our world-famous asparagus is now appearing in our shops heralding the start of locally grown, locally sold fruit and veg.”

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