Sinn Fein Agriculture Spokesperson Oliver McMullan has said that remote sensing inspections have lead to more farmers receiving their Single Farm Payments earlier.
Speaking in the Assembly debate Mr McMullan said,
“Over the past few years the number of farmers receiving their Single farm Payments has increased year upon year. This is due to the Minister bringing in measures that speeds up the process which has lead to farmers receiving payments four months earlier than ever before.
“From bringing in a system that allows farmers to apply online, making maps accessible to using remote sensing inspections as opposed to physical inspections have allowed the Department to speed up the process.
“The European Union has said that 5% of all Single Farm Payments applications must be inspected and the most efficient way to do this is through Remote Sensing Inspections.
“In the past the Department has been severely penalised by Europe for maps not being precise so it is important that we get it right every year and that remote sensing inspections allows us to prove that we are adhering to the criteria.
“The Minister must be congratulated for increasing the number of farmers who receive their Single Farm Payment early and indeed has recently stated that if 40% or more farmers apply online this year that over 90% will receive their payment in December.”