The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association have hit out at the ever increasing levels of red tape and bureaucracy. Speaking on this, INHFA Vice-President John Joe Fitzgerald detailed how the last straw for many farmers came in a letter from the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) last week in relation to the National Fertiliser Database.
While the farming media have, he stated “outlined details on this in recent weeks, the letter issued came as a major surprise to a lot of farmers. However, what has really annoyed most farmers is the short timeline for registration and the fact that it must be done on-line.”
The on-line registration will, he stressed, “be a major issue for many farmers, especially those that are not IT savvy. These farmers will now have to chase down their farm advisors who are already under enormous pressure with a very complicated ACRES scheme and then pay them to do the on-line registration.”
“At a time when most farmers are struggling to keep the show on the road and seeing their cash-flow undermined through delayed payments this Autumn you would imagine the Minister and his Department would have enough cop-on to at least provide different options for registration” stated Fitzgerald.
While acknowledging the need for Member States to have a National Fertiliser Database as part of the eco-scheme requirements in the new CAP, it was stated the INHFA Leader “our understanding that the registration process would not be rushed, complicated and definitely not restricted to an on-line registration”
It is, he continued, now vital that “the DAFM immediately review the on-line registration requirement and the 1st of September date. In this review they must provide farmers with a phone-in option where they can register across the phone or if required have a hard copy sent out to them that they can fill in and return. Indeed, the latter is an option that should have featured in the initial letter, but obviously the DAFM didn’t want the ad-min work that this may involve for them.”
In concluding Fitzgerald stressed the need for the Minister and the DAFM to review their engagements with farmers. In this engagement it is he stated “vital that proper consideration is given to farmers that are not IT savvy. So instead of looking at what is in the best interests of the DAFM with regard to limiting their admin, they should as public servants facilitate the needs of the public which in this instance is our farming community.”