Stormont agriculture minister: UK Government may have to help farmers

Stormont’s agriculture minister Edwin Poots has said the UK Government will need to “step up” to help Northern Ireland’s farming industry.

He pledged to pay close attention to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and warned of the threat of “numerous bankruptcies”.

Marts for trading have been closed as part of social distancing measures.

Mr Poots gave evidence to a Stormont committee of Assembly members.

He said: “The UK Government will need to step up and provide the necessary support.

“I am monitoring the situation locally to see what can be done and working with ministerial colleagues.”

He said supermarkets needed to back local farmers and buy their “excellent” produce.

“If we are not going to have numerous bankruptcies and people unable to conduct their business then we need to respond to it and respond to it quickly.”