MINISTER CREED MUST ENSURE ON TIME PAYMENTS FOR KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER SCHEME

14 MARCH 2017

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has expressed concern that the Department of Agriculture is sleepwalking into another IT fiasco which will result in more delayed payments. “We are still awaiting IT systems for Knowledge Transfer advisers and Knowledge Transfer approved vets. These systems should be up and running by now; nobody wants to see another GLAS debacle.”

Advisors are required to have all information inputted by 31 May but concerns are mounting as the IT systems are not yet in place and with the opening of the Basic Payment application which closes on 15 May, a potential logjam is coming down the tracks.

Mr Sherlock called on Minister Creed to get on top of the situation or risk facing another backlash from farmers. “The fiasco over delayed GLAS payments, which is still an on-going problem, has left a bad taste with farmers. Blaming IT problems is a poor excuse when the Department have had more than enough time to get it right.  It just doesn’t wash with farmers.

We already know that the Knowledge Transfer scheme is overly bureaucratic for farmers given the relatively small payment involved. If we add the threat of the systems not being in place to administer the scheme properly and to pay farmers on time, more and more farmers will just pull out. Lessons must be learned from problems encountered with GLAS. There can be no excuse for allowing the same thing to happen with Knowledge Transfer.”

ENDS