Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced that DARD has made payments of £21.3million to farmers under the Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances (LFACA) Scheme.
Thanks to online applications, some 96% of eligible claims were processed and paid by 31 March 2015, beating the department’s target of 90%.
Welcoming the achievement, the Minister said: “This money is a significant contribution to the rural economy and in particular to those farmers who face constraints brought about by farming in less favoured areas.
“The increase in the number of claims made via DARD’s online system in 2014 has contributed to this record payment performance. I hope that more farmers will now see the benefits of applying online and help us to improve further in the years ahead.
“I would strongly encourage farmers to go online themselves or ask their agent or form filler to complete the claim online on their behalf. It’s a good way to avoid mistakes compared with paper and crucially it will speed up payments to farmers overall.
“The telephone number in order to obtain the Government Gateway ID and password is 028 9442 6699 and my staff will be happy to assist farmers or agents who enquire.”
DARD will continue to strive to clear the remaining payments as quickly as possible.
The 2015 Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances (LFACA) budget including cattle bonus is worth £25million.