€700 million is set to be paid in advance payments to over 111,000 farmer as part of the Basic Payments Scheme, the Department of Agriculture have confirmed.
Minister Creed made the announcement today of the commencement of these payments under the Basic Payment scheme and the Greening Payment scheme. Minister Creed spoke of his delight at being able to announce the payments, which he days are vital in supporting farmers across all sectors of the industry. He said it is now the main priority of the Department, to ensure these payments are made without delay.
“I am particularly pleased that these payments, worth some €700 million to 111,000 farmers, have now commenced issuing. Every year, the advance payment of the BPS is a vital support for farmers across sectors in terms of maximising cash flow. It is a priority for my Department that these payments issue in the most efficient manner possible, and that they commence on the earliest date possible under EU Regulations.”, he said.
The Minister also confirmed, following recent discussions with the European Commission, that the level of the advance payment is set at 70% for 2017 rather than 50% as provided for in the EU legislation.
The Minister said he was happy to confirm that over 111,000 farmers will receive payments, a significant increase on last years numbers.
“I am happy to confirm that the 111,000 farmers paid in the initial tranche of advance payments represent an increase over the 109,000 farmers paid at this stage last year. Over 90% of eligible applicants for the BPS have now been paid in this first tranche. As we move to full online application by 2018, my Department will be able to introduce further efficiencies into the processing of payments which will be of direct benefit to farmers.”, he said.
Payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme will also continue to be issued, as cases are cleared for payment. Minister Creed added that the advance payments are worth over €880 million. These payments, he said, will provide a significant boost to farmers and the rural economy.
“These payments provide a significant financial boost for individual farmers and the wider rural economy. I was delighted to secure an increase in the ANC scheme allocation for 2018. This €25 million increase will provide direct financial support to farmers in the most marginal areas of the Country. ”, he said.
The Minister indicated that advance payments will be issued on the regular until the middle of November. From then balancing payments will commence issuing from early December. The Minister also confirmed that payments under the 2017 National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme will commence early in December 2017
The Minister concluded “payments under the BPS and ANC scheme will continue to issue as individual cases are cleared. I will continue to prioritise the ongoing processing of payments, subject to the requirements of the schemes being met.”