Almost €6m spent inspecting farmers for Quality Assurance Scheme in 2015
Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture spent in excess of €5.7m in 2015 auditing farmers as part of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme.
Figures from Bord Bia show that €5,742,000 of funding was made available by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the to cover the costs of independent on-farm inspections and associated certification processes under the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme in 2015.
The spending came as Bord Bia also reported a 14% increase in the number of audits conducted in 2015.
Bord Bia has come in for criticism from farmers in recent months over its Quality Assurance Scheme inspections, which they say are too onerous.
Bord Bia says the spend reflects the ‘continuing interest by beef farmers in the Beef & Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme’ and a ‘significant increase in participation in the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme’.
The number of beef farms certified at the end of 2015 stood at 45,388, which represented an increase of 796 on 2014.
This level of certification of beef ensures that over 90% of all beef produced in Ireland is from Quality Assured farms. Participation of lamb producers in the BLQAS has plateaued at around 12,000 farms.
Membership of the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme continues to grow with 86% more audits conducted in 2015 compared to the previous year. Membership of the scheme stood at 9,582 at year end, up 6,365 on 2014.