Farmers left in limbo after payments delay
Mapping debacle holds up €175m of DAS and SFP money to 50,000 applicants
Close to €175m in direct payments to more than 50,000 farmers has been held up due to delays with the redigitisation of land parcel maps.
And it is feared that it could be January before many farmers receive their full Single Farm Payment (SFP) and Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) monies.
Farm organisations have slammed the Department of Agriculture's handling of the payments crisis and accused them of exacerbating cashflow difficulties for thousands of farmers.
Figures released by the Department confirmed that €498.4m had been delivered under the SFP to 108,154 farmers by last Friday.
However, since over €635m was due to be paid out in the 50pc advance, the shortfall in payments to farmers tops €135m.
Meanwhile, industry sources estimate that at least €40m in DAS payments has been held back due to mapping problems.
Although the Department of Agriculture failed to answer specific questions on the number of maps which remain to be digitised or the rate at which they were being cleared, the farm organisations claim that more than 55,000 have yet to be processed, with a maximum of 4,000 being digitised each week.
This means it will take up to three months to work through the backlog. As a consequence, payments to farmers could be delayed to the end of January in some cases.