IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has said that farmers who left REPS 3 in 2011 must have a meaningful AEOS 3 scheme available to them well in advance of this year’s SFP deadline of mid-May.
Speaking in advance of a meeting tomorrow with the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, Flor McCarthy said that a scheme must be made available to 10,000 farmers with the maximum payment restored to AEOS 1 levels of €5,000. At this level of payment, the scheme is meaningful and worthwhile for farmers to join.
Flor McCarthy also pointed out that it was important that a new scheme is put in place within the next 2 weeks. In the last 2 years, the delay in the starting up of the schemes led to serious problems at a later stage including delayed payments.
“13,000 farmers left REPS 3 in 2011 and many of these farmers must be accommodated in a new enhanced scheme,” he said.
Meanwhile Flor McCarthy has again expressed frustration at the on-going delays in making AEOS 1 and 2 payments. Progress, he said, is too slow and he called for AEOS 1 full year payments to 8,500 farmers to be paid out. So far, about 40% have been paid fully. On AEOS 2, IFA has been told by the Department that the 4 month part payment for 2011 will commence in April next.
On REPS 4, about 3,000 farmers still remain to be paid, out of a total of 30,000 farmers. IFA is urging that all payments are completed without delay.
Concluding, Flor McCarthy reminded farmers who have received query letters from the Department of Agriculture on either AEOS or REPS 4, to respond immediately