Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced that payments under CAP schemes totalling £154million have been issued today.
Today marks the beginning of the payment period for 2015 CAP Schemes, with just under 18,000 payments to be issued on 1 December.
Announcing that payments had commenced, the Minister said: “I am pleased to report that around 18,000 payments have been issued to farmers on Day 1 and will reach farmers’ bank accounts on Friday 4 December. After a very difficult year for the industry, this will make a significant difference to our farmers.
“This year has also been challenging for farmers and DARD with the introduction of a new set of schemes. I am happy that despite the complications and additional work this has brought, that the vast majority of farmers here will receive their new Direct Payments at this earliest possible stage.”
Minister O’Neill has set a target of processing payments to 95% of eligible applicants by the end of December, including the majority of cases which had been selected for inspection. Some of those selected for inspection by remote sensing will be among them. The Minister has also committed to paying all inspection cases by the end of March.
The CAP schemes being paid are the Basic Payment and the Greening Payment. Where a successful application for the Young Farmers’ Payment has been confirmed, this will also be paid. The payment made will incorporate deductions made under the financial discipline mechanism to provide funds for the 2016 EU Agricultural Crisis Reserve.
Noting that the increased number of applications submitted through DARD’s online system had allowed more claims to be processed earlier, the Minister added: “I hope that more farmers will recognise the benefits of applying online and help us to further improve on payment performance in the future.
“I would strongly encourage farmers to complete their claims online or ask their agent or form filler to do so on their behalf. There are in-built checks online which help to avoid mistakes, and the system speeds up payments to farmers overall. The contact 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.”