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