News story

Movement Assistance Scheme expanded to support organic produce

Traders moving organic products to Northern Ireland are now eligible for support following the expansion of the scheme.

Traders moving organic products to Northern Ireland are now eligible for support following the expansion of a scheme designed to ease the flow of agri-food goods from Great Britain, Defra has announced today.

The Movement Assistance Scheme means traders do not need to pay certain certification costs for moving agri-food goods, with the costs incurred by those certifying the products - now including organic control bodies - reimbursed by government up to a set amount.

The scheme also includes a dedicated helpline for general enquiries and together these measures are making it easier to move agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. During January, over 100 organisations signed to up to the scheme, with the costs of over 4,000 export health certificates covered.

Farming, Fisheries and Food Minister Victoria Prentis said:

We want to ensure that people in Northern Ireland can continue to enjoy a wide range of organic products and that the process of getting these goods to them is as smooth as possible for traders.

Including the cost of certification for organic agri-food goods in the Movement Assistance Scheme minimises the impact of the new requirements for traders and means there will still be a variety of choice for consumers.

Since 1 January 2021, there have been new requirements for inspection and certification when moving agri-food and similar goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

This includes meeting new sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements given that the island of Ireland is treated as a single epidemiological unit. These SPS requirements include Export Health Certificates and Phytosanitary certificates for specific agri-food goods.

Authorised traders, such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers, currently benefit from a grace period from certification requirements for products of animal origin, composite products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants and plant products as well as organic products.

The Movement Assistance Scheme will cover the cost of Organic Certificate of Inspections. It does not currently cover the costs for getting certified as an organic exporter, though the Government is continuing to monitor the performance of the scheme to determine what further support may be required.

Guidance on the new scheme and moving agri-food goods to and from Northern Ireland is available.

If you would like further information on moving agri-food goods from GB to NI, please contact the Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS) helpline on 0330 0416 580. MAS can help you by offering support and advice, and information around GB to NI processes and policy. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

Traders who have queries relating to moving organic products from GB to NI can also contact their control body for advice.

Published 2 March 2021