Commenting on the announcement that the GLAS application deadline has been extended to May 26th, IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has said that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must ensure that all applicants who apply for the current phase of GLAS are accepted into the scheme.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said that given that there have been so many changes to the specification and terms and conditions since the scheme was first opened at the end of February, flexibility must be shown in allowing all farmers into the scheme. Also, the problems with the IT system have not helped in maximising uptake.
Flor McCarthy also pointed out that where there have been problems with planners, resulting in plans not being finalised, the Department of Agriculture must accept the bona fides of these plans and accept them.
He said that the Minister must aim for his original target of 30,000 joining and 50,000 joining in the current RDP. The Minister must also ensure that next phase of GLAS is open after the 29th May with system remaining open for planners to continue to do plans which will have a start of January 1st next.
Securing a GLAS payment later in the year is vital for low income farmers as all direct payments play a critical role.
Flor McCarthy also pointed out that there is a €20m allocation in this year’s Book of Estimates for GLAS. IFA will be making the case later this year that this needs to increase substantially in 2016.