GLAS falls far short of targets
Published 29/04/2015 | 02:30
GLAS looks set to miss its targets by as much as 50pc, with just one third of the targeted 30,000 farmers progressing their applications to the new environment scheme's second phase, according to the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.
The deadline for final applications is less than four weeks away, and insiders predict that the current rate of 2,000 applications per week will tail off during the last week, because most applications are taking more than a week to process.
If this transpires, the scheme will receive less than 25,000 applications, which are unlikely to yield more than 15,000 completed submissions.
As recently as last week, the Department of Agriculture were reported to be still confident that they would hit the target of 30,000 participants in the first year of the scheme.
In addition, it appears increasingly likely that the average payout will be significantly lower than the €5,000 that the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, had promised farmers.
Many planners report that average payments will be closer to €3,000 than €5,000, or €7,000 that was ear-marked for commonage farmers.
Indeed, the participation rate among commonage farmers appears to be worryingly low, with less than 20pc of the country's 15,000 commonage farmers having initiated an application two thirds of the way through the application window.
The figures emerged in response to Dáil questions tabled by Fianna Fáil's Éamon Ó Cuív.