Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 4 December 2016

Farmers waiting on €230m in payments

Over 30,000 farmers affected as second tranche of SFP rolls out

Published 30/11/2010 | 05:00

A total of €450m will roll out this week as part of the second tranche of the single farm payment (SFP).

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However, farmers will be dismayed to learn that more than €230m of farm payments are being held up due to delays associated with the digitisation of maps and the knock-on effect this is having on getting problem applications processed. It is estimated that around 25,000 farmers will be affected.

Direct payments of €1.5bn were earmarked for Irish farmers this year and €220m of this was to be paid out through the Disadvantaged Area scheme.

However, €30m of this is still unpaid, despite the balancing payment date for this scheme falling more than a month ago.

Up to 20,000 farmers are still thought to be awaiting payments through this scheme.

A total of €1.26bn was to be paid out through the SFP but this week's payments will only bring the paid total to €1.05bn. More than 6,000 farmers have received nothing of their SFP so far this year.

However, the bulk of the €200m that has yet to be paid out through this scheme relates to the 25,000 farmers who have only received a partial payment so far. Their payments have been cut due to a small error or inconsistency in the applications they submitted last May.

Interpretations

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The delays arise from the huge volumes of maps that the Department is redigitising to comply with new interpretations of EU farm payment rules. Fears are now growing that the payments won't be completed before the end of the year.

This is despite numerous assurances from the Minister of Agriculture, Brendan Smith, that the payments would be completed by the end of the year.

"I am confident that by year-end, the total value of payments which will have been issued to farmers under these schemes will be on target," said Mr Smith.

IFA president John Bryan said that it was unacceptable that this amount of money was still outstanding to farmers.

He pointed out that the current situation regarding payments compared unfavourably to the same period last year when only €5m of SFP money was still due to fewer than 1,000 farmers by mid-December.

Irish Independent