Farm Scheme Delays Have to Be Addressed
IFA President Joe Healy said that the Department of Agriculture’s administration of some recent farm schemes has been totally unacceptable and IFA has demanded an immediate meeting with Minister Creed to ensure the situation is taken under control as a matter of urgency.
Joe Healy said the GLAS payments debacle, problems with TAMS payments and issues over the administration of the Knowledge Transfer Scheme are evidence of serious problems within certain sections of the Department.
“There have been lots of excuses about IT systems, but the Department is not run by computers,” he said.
“Farmers are extremely angry and frustrated over the ongoing delays and slow responses when they try to contact the Department to find out why they have not been paid.
“There is no appreciation of the impact these long payment delays are having on cashflow in farm households. Some farmers who expected a GLAS payment last October are still waiting, seven months later.
“IFA officers and local offices have been bombarded with complaints from farmers who are awaiting payments. These schemes should be a good news story for the Government and the EU, which jointly fund the schemes. Instead, administrative bottlenecks are causing anger and frustration.”
Joe Healy said, “Compared to other EU countries, the Department has been effective in delivering BPS and ANC payments to farmers. However, there is something seriously wrong with the administration of some other schemes”.
Joe Healy also cited the lack of urgency in the Department’s efforts to devise a scheme for tillage farmers who lost crops in the 2016 harvest. “Again, it seems there is no appreciation of the desperate situation these farmers are in.”
“The Minister indicated he would introduce a scheme for these farmers months ago, and he must instruct his officials to make it happen immediately,” he said.