The inspection requirement for the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) should be waived or take place at a later date, but payments under the measure should not be delayed, the ICMSA has insisted.
The ICMSA’s, Denis Drennan, described as “unacceptable” that TAMS payments to farmers have been held up due to being listed for inspection.
He called on the Department of Agriculture to resolve the matter “immediately” and ensure that payments are made without further delay.
The Department claimed that around 95pc of payments under TAMS can proceed without the need for on-site inspections, and that payments under the scheme are currently running at an average of €1.38 million per week.
The Department stated that it is looking at “alternatives to on-farm inspections” to allow particular payments claims to be processed where possible.
“These alternatives include the use of alternative technologies or the submission of other documentary evidence that satisfies the scheme requirements,” the Department explained.
“In exceptional circumstances, we may also facilitate an on-farm inspection in order for a payment to proceed with the agreement of the farmer concerned. This can be conducted in a way which minimises or removes completely the need for any personal interaction,” the Department confirmed.
However, the ICMSA insisted that inspections should not be allowed to delay payments.
“We are in unprecedented times and with cash flow pressures growing on farms and bridging loans due for repayment, the inspection requirement should be either waived or payment issued with the inspection to take place at a later date,” said Mr Drennan.
Concerns have also been expressed regarding a growing backlog of applications for TAMS, with up to 600 farmers being rolled over from one tranche of the scheme to the next because of the increased number of approvals.