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Northern Ireland: Potato sector is at risk from rivers

According to the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), a combination of heavy rainfall and poor management of rivers by local river agencies has led to unnecessary field flooding and potato crop destruction in areas of Northern Ireland.

UFU deputy president William Irvine: “A large amount of rain has fallen across the country in recent days and while we are unable to control the weather, the lack of river management has been the catalyst causing field flooding and widespread damage of crops in the process. This could have been easily avoided if the maintenance of rivers had been more effective and the correct river infrastructure had been put in place by local river agencies. It’s a high investment for potato growers to grow quality potatoes for both the seed and processing markets only for them to be submerged in the field.”

Irvine continued: “With the average cost of production in the region of £2,500 per acre, the financial implications have the potential to be devastating for a family-run farm business. It’s even more devastating when the flooding could have been prevented and comes down to poor river maintenance which is not our farmers’ responsibility, and yet it creates another challenge for them to overcome. Years of ineffective river maintenance results are now having costly implications for our growers.”


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