IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley said the indications were that only 7,000 farmers will join AEOS 2. He said this was disappointing and clearly showed that farmers were not willing to enter into a scheme as set up by the Minister for Agriculture.
Mr Turley said that the cutbacks in the scheme announced by the Minister in early April have led to farmers questioning the merits of the scheme. “The Minister must now strive to revitalise the scheme in advance of next year’s application date.”
The feedback from planners throughout the country to IFA is that the level of interest from former REPS 3 farmers is around 50%, with a smaller number of other farmers interested. “Cutbacks in payments and changes made without consultation have definitely impacted on uptake as the costs of the measures outweigh the payments under the scheme.”
Tom Turley said the failure to pay so far any of AEOS 1 payments for 2010 is also a major blow to the credibility of the scheme. The Minister must now instruct his Department to pay out €8m due to up to 9,000 farmers for last year’s scheme.