Gildernew delivers on timely subsidy payments
Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has outlined progress on her commitment to provide timely subsidy payments.
Welcoming payment of 2008 Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances (LFACA), the Minister said:
"Over 95% of eligible LFACA claimants received their payment in March up from 90% last year. We had undertaken to at least meet the previous year's figure but have done much better."
Turning to improved payment performance in respect of the 2007 Single Farm Payment, the Minister said that:
"In December 2007, my Department paid out Single Farm Payment to 1,650 more applicants than in the same period in 2006.
"This improvement in the delivery of payments is a credit to everyone involved. I thank my staff in Orchard House for their efforts to help farmers in this way. There is always more that can be done and farmers can help by avoiding queries on their Single Farm Payment claims. They can do this by correcting their farm maps and ensuring that their Single Application is consistent with the up to date situation on their land."
The Minister also addressed her intention to help deal with an anticipated increase in Farm Nutrient Management Scheme grant claims to meet the EU deadline in December 2008. She said:
"Until now, my Department has kept within the 12 week target for payment of claims under this scheme. That will become more difficult as the number of claims increase towards the end of this year. We are considering how an early part payment could be made quickly on receipt of claims. This will be of particular help to farmers who have had to borrow money."
The Minister concluded:
"When I took up this job last May, the issue of getting timely payments was one of my priorities. I am pleased to have delivered on that."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The 2008 Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances Scheme (LFACA) compensates those farmers for lower returns from less productive land such as on hill farms, compared to lowland.
- The annual area based payment made is £40 for each hectare in areas considered severely disadvantaged; £20 per hectare of common land/disadvantaged land. The Department issued LFACA payments in March totalling some £19million.
- The payment timetable for Single Farm Payment for December 2007 and January 2008 was announced in press release 128/07 issued on 22 November 2007. Press Release 025/08 issued on 29 January 2008 further updated payment progress.
- The Farm Nutrient Management Scheme (FNMS) is a key measure to improve water quality in Northern Ireland and provides financial assistance to farmers towards the cost for additional storage of farm manure.
- The Department has received 1,175 claims for payment of which 978 have been paid amounting to £28.854million. All work must be completed and claims for payment submitted by 31 December 2008. All claims for payment have to be processed by 31 December 2009.