Expression of Interest Form - 2021 COVID 19 Potato Support Scheme

Closed 11 Jun 2021

Opened 26 May 2021


On 28 April 2021 at the UFU AGM, Minister Poots announced that financial support would be made available to growers who had suffered losses as a result of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on potato processing markets in 2021. Scheme details regarding eligibility criteria and the delivery mechanism were discussed with the UFU on 24 May and a £2 million support scheme was announced on 26 May 2021. This information will enable growers to make business decisions regarding disposal of their surplus potatoes and avail of forthcoming stock feed opportunities as the silage season gets underway.


The target audience for the 2021 scheme will be those farmers growing potatoes for the processing supply chain including specialist seed producers who grew specific varieties for the processing market. Growers who have been unable to sell their potatoes as normal into the processing supply chain, can sell surplus tubers for livestock feed or as raw material for AD plants and make a claim for loss to the Covid-19 Potato Scheme.

The scheme has been designed to ensure evidence based targeted support and reduced levels of bureaucracy to support claims.

This will be achieved in two ways:

  1. DAERA inspectors will quantifying stocks of unsold potatoes in all farm stores during late May / early June, and verifying that they are unacceptable for the processing market. Growers can subsequently utilise these potatoes for stock feed on their own farm or sell them to other farmers / AD plants without having to present further evidence of sales. Potatoes held in cold stores that remain unsold by mid / late July will require a second inspection to verify loss.
  2. In cases where potatoes have been sold for stock feed or as raw material for an AD plant, between 1 March and the date of a DAERA verification inspection, or by 31st July if no verification inspection took place, paper based evidence of sales will be accepted.


The payment rate per tonne for potatoes presented into the scheme will be £127/t. This is the difference between the DAERA assessed local cost of production £147/t, and the stock feed market price of £20/t. In 2020, growers received 80% of the verifiable loss as a contribution toward losses incurred. Since potato growers have faced significant loss for the second year in succession, 100% of the verifiable loss will be provided in 2021 (i.e. £127/tonne).

The maximum amount of aid per business for 2020-2021 will be approx. £213k (€245k). DAERA has secured a budget of £2m for the Covid-19 Potato Support Scheme.


If you have any COVID 19 symptoms then you must inform the inspector when they contact you. Please observe all COVID 19 regulations during the inspection - maintain social distancing, wear face masks in store and use santitiser when signing the inspection form. 


If you are satisfied that you meet the Scheme eligibility criteria, and require an inspection of eligible potatoes that you still have in store, you are invited to register for the scheme and request an inspection visit by completing this expression of interest form by midnight 11th June 2021.

If you'd like to save and edit the form later then click 'Save and Come Back Later'.  By providing your e-mail address you will receive a weblink to your form.  This provides access to view and edit all your existing answers until you submit your completed form.  After you click 'Submit' you will no longer be able to go back and change any of your answers.  You MUST 'submit' your form by midnight 11th June 2021.


What happens next

DAERA inspectors will contact you following submission of the ‘Expression of Interest’ form and make an arrangement to visit your farm. Potatoes presented for inspection must be in boxes and inspectors may ask for boxes to be moved within the store to improve accessibility.

Potatoes will be assessed to determine the amount of degradation that has taken place and acceptability for the processing market.

Following inspection, growers will also have to complete a further Application Form when the scheme opens formally in the summer. The Application Form will be on the DAERA website along with supporting information and guidance when the scheme opens formally in the summer.

Applicants will then be asked to provide evidence to confirm grower eligibility for the scheme, evidence of financial loss for invoice based sales of potatoes sold for stock feed or to AD in the period 1 March – 31 July, and a declaration of the tonnage of potatoes inspected in stores by DAERA officials.  


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  • Agriculture