The IFA Payments Unit has dealt with nearly 800 cases since last September. This is the beginning of the payment run each year by the Department of Agriculture.
IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy said the Payments Unit was established to assist and support farmers who were facing delays in getting paid, particularly under the Basic Payment Scheme, ANC and GLAS. The Payments Unit also handles queries on other direct payment schemes.
Richard Kennedy said, “Given the importance of payments as a proportion of farmers’ incomes, the Payments Unit is there to gather queries from individual farmers and liaise with the Department of Agriculture to sort out any problems and cut down on delays. It’s part of the work IFA does in supporting farmers”.
95,000 farmers qualify under the ANC scheme. The advance of the Basic Payment happens in mid-October. The remainder is paid on December 1st. There are almost 125,000 farmers eligible for the Basic Payment.
Of the 773 cases that the IFA Payments Unit has taken on since September 2017, 475 farmers (61%) have received their payment. 298 (39%) cases are still open and are being pursued by the Payments Unit.
111 of those relate to the GLAS Scheme, which represents 69% of the GLAS delays handled by the Payments Unit.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said the high proportion of outstanding cases relating to GLAS didn’t come as a surprise and represented an indictment of the Department’s system.
Mr Brady said, “At a meeting with the Department, we said farmers don’t need excuses, they need payment. The Minister has to acknowledge that the GLAS scheme is not functioning as it should, which is a source of deep frustration for farmers. Farmers could be waiting another two months if things don’t improve. Either the Minister gets to grips with it, or he considers an alternative method that delivers in line with the Charter of Farmers’ Rights”.
See table below of full list of cases handled by the IFA Payments Unit.