Sinn Féin Agriculture and Food spokesperson Deputy Brian Stanley has called for appropriate measures to be implemented in the agri-food sector to ensure food supply chains continue to operate as usual.
Speaking this afternoon, Deputy Stanley said:
“It is vitally important to ensure that food production for the domestic and export market is not interrupted by Covid-19.
“To achieve this we need to ensure that workers fulfilling those vital jobs are protected and can continue to do their work. This means enforcing the two metre rule and on-site hygiene best practice.
“It has been reported that Irish food processors have seen their order go up by more than 60 per cent and will need to be more vigilant than ever to ensure that the sector continues to operate as usual.
“Managers of marts and food processing plants and agri-suppliers must be able to continue to operate as a crucial part of the supply chain but they must ensure that the risk to workers and customers is reduced as much as possible. Management of these businesses need to ensure that the advice being given Chief Medical Officer of the HSE is followed regarding social distancing, hygiene etc.
“I have contacted Minister Creed to ensure that these conditions will be imposed and I have also requested that the Minister establish a National Taskforce for the agri-food sector. It is essential that, farmers, the department, Teagasc and other stakeholders work together in a co-ordinated way to ensure the continued operation of food supply chains.
“These are difficult times for farmers and workers in the sector. They need flexibility from our banks and lending institutions to reschedule repayments for farmers and the availability of overdraft facilities.”