To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the agricultural industry.
The Government is aware that COVID-19 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 to the industry.
Defra’s Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group 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 NFU, other industry stakeholders and the devolved administrations.
The UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group is meeting weekly, to monitor UK agricultural markets and provide forewarning of any atypical market movements. This allows 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 agricultural industry and will continue to engage with them on the effect of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation and to work closely with the farming sector to respond to emerging issues as they arise.