The IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey called on the Department of Agriculture to ensure that all outstanding direct payments owed to farmers are made without further undue delay. He said that there are about 1,900 farmers who have received no direct payments at all and up to 17,000 farmers who are still awaiting part payment under the Single Farm Payment and Disadvantage Area schemes. In total Eddie Downey said farmers are still owed up to €100m in Single Farm Payment and Disadvantage Area Payments from the 2010 schemes.
Eddie Downey said the rate of payment clearance resulting from the digitisation problems with maps and inspection delays was too slow. He said it was totally unacceptable that individual farmers were not paid in the year when payment was due. He added that these payment delays were creating significant financial difficulties for the individual farmers involved.
Eddie Downey recognised the major effort made by the Department of Agriculture in getting full Single Farm Payment of €1.130bn to over 121,000 farmers and €205m in Disadvantage Area Payments to 96,500 farmers.
Eddie Downey said the payment delays encountered in 2010 as a result of the requirement for digitisation cannot be repeated in 2011. He said the Department of Agriculture must learn from the mistakes of 2010, particularly in respect of mapping, inspections and processing delays.
Eddie Downey welcomed the payment of over €100m to 14,500 farmers under the Farm Waste Management Scheme and €85m in REPS 4 payments, in late December. He said all remaining Farm Waste Management Grants should be paid within the next week. All outstanding REPS 4 and AEOS payments must now be made.