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Agriculture: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL3199, tabled on 21 April 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 on the farming and agricultural sectors.

Answered on

5 May 2020

The Government is aware that coronavirus represents a very significant challenge, affecting daily life and every part of the economy. We are working closely alongside the agricultural industry to ensure that we understand and manage the impacts on farming and the agricultural sectors.

Defra’s Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group (FCELG) is meeting regularly to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the food and farming sectors across the UK, and what actions are needed to support the sectors. This group includes the National Farmers Union (NFU), other industry stakeholders and the devolved administrations.

Since 18 March, the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group (UKAMMG) has increased the frequency of its meetings to weekly. Its aim is to monitor UK agricultural markets and provide forewarning of any atypical market movements. During the coronavirus outbreak this is allowing Defra and the devolved administrations to share the latest stakeholder information to assess the effects of COVID-19 on the agricultural industry, as well as prepare the evidence base for a possible range of interventions needed in specific markets, or geographical regions.

Officials are having regular meetings with the different agricultural sectors to understand the specific issues affecting each sector. We have also provided all agricultural industry stakeholders with a central point of contact to send details of any emerging impacts as and when they arise.

The Secretary of State remains in regular contact with representatives of the farming and agricultural sectors and will continue to engage with them on the effects of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation and to work closely with the farming sectors to respond to emerging issues as they arise.