FEWER than 7,000 farmers have applied to join the land use scheme AEOS 2, with pressure mounting on the Government to pay out €8 million due to up to 9,000 farmers for last year’s scheme.
Teagasc has processed just 1,000 schemes this year, compared to the 2,500 forms it dealt with for the first AEOS scheme.
IFA rural development chairman Tom Turley said the indications were that only 7,000 farmers will join AEOS 2. He said this was disappointing and clearly showed that farmers were not willing to enter into the scheme as set up by the Agriculture Minister.
Mr Turley said: “The cutbacks in the scheme announced by the minister in early April have led to farmers questioning the merits of the scheme. The minister must now strive to revitalise the scheme in advance of next year’s application date.”
The feedback from planners throughout the country to IFA is that the level of interest from former REPS 3 farmers is around 50%, with a smaller number of other farmers interested.
“Cutbacks in payments and changes made without consultation have definitely impacted on uptake as the costs of the measures outweigh the payments under the scheme,” said Mr Turley.
He claimed the failure to pay any of AEOS 1 payments for 2010 so far is also a major blow to the credibility of the scheme and the minister must now instruct his department to pay out €8m due to up to 9,000 farmers for last year’s scheme, he said.
* DÁIL PROTEST: Thousands of IFA members are expected to line the streets outside Dáil Éireann in protest against what they view as the Government’s failure to intervene in farmers’ attempts to negotiate better prices for their produce from retailers. The protest is expected to begin at around 12 noon.
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