DUP MEP Diane Dodds and her colleague, the Chair of the Stormont Agriculture Committee, William Irwin, this week met with Pauline Rooney and Richard Crowe to discuss the current DARD position in relation to making payments to farmers in the coming months.
Mrs Dodds said the purpose of the meeting was to gain a greater understanding of the targets announced by the DARD Minister and to press for assurances that under the new payment schemes as many farmers as possible will paid be in December.
She added: “While I recognise that Northern Ireland will probably be ahead of the rest of the United Kingdom in the number of claimants paid, this should not take away from those that are awaiting payment due to the administrative process. We are a number of weeks away from the payment window opening, with a lot of processing yet to be completed, and in some cases farmers being asked to produce more information. I would urge the DARD Minister to add to the resources already available to ensure farmers are not waiting months on end to receive payment, especially given the difficult financial climate facing farmers. I will continue to monitor this process and have asked for regular updates.”
DUP MLA William Irwin added: “Given the difficulties facing the majority of sectors within agriculture in the last few months, it is important that there is no delay in these payments. Farmers need this cash injection to pay bills which farm gate prices are just not doing. This is an unsustainable position.
“This week I also met with the supermarket adjudicator to press upon her the unfairness within the food supply chain across the United Kingdom and the need for farmers to receive a fair deal.”