Irish underspend on CAP schemes could hit €200m, warn hill farmers

IFA deputy Richard Kennedy
IFA deputy Richard Kennedy
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The INHFA has called for clarity in relation to overall Pillar 2 spending, with the farmer body claiming that the total underspend on the current CAP programme could be as high as €200m.

The Department of Agriculture has insisted that the full budget for Pillar 2 funds under the current CAP regime from 2014 to 2020 will be utilised.

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However, INHFA spokesman Vincent Roddy said there was an absence of clarity on the part of the Department on the overall Pillar 2 spend to date and the allocation of funding for schemes during 2019 and 2020.

He said this needed to be addressed by the Department or the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

While Mr Roddy accepted that the spend on Pillar 2 schemes over the next two years was expected to increase significantly, he pointed out that there was a major underspend on GLAS and AEOS during 2014 and 2015.

Department of Agriculture figures show that the total spend on GLAS and AEOS for 2014 and 2015 was under €225m, even though funding of €250m per year was understood to be available for agri-environment schemes.

Expenditure on agri-environment schemes totalled €212m and €236m in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

TAMS and ANC have seen the biggest increases in Pillar 2 spending over the last two years.

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The total spend on the ANC scheme jumped from €205m in 2017 to €229m in 2018.

The total spend on TAMS increased from €7.8m in 2016 to €31m in 2017, and to €67m last year.

Meanwhile, IFA deputy president Richard Kennedy urged the Minister Creed to pay out approximately €45m which is owed to farmers in respect of schemes that they applied for in 2018.

The make-up of the money owed is as follows:

Remaining 15pc GLAS balancing payment worth over €30m

Full GLAS payment to 1,500 farmers who have not received any payment for 2018 worth €6m

Balancing payment for organic farmers worth €2m

Outstanding KT payments worth €2m

Balancing payment under the Sheep Welfare Scheme worth €3m

A small number of outstanding BPS, ANC and BDGP payments worth €2m.

On top of this, there are approximately 800 farmers who awaiting TAMS payments of €11.5m.

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