Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Ceisteanna (71)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

71. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of approved applicants to each 2019 area-based scheme in pillars 1 and 2; the number of applicants who were selected for an inspection; the number who have had their inspection and are awaiting their advance payment; the number who have had their inspection and received their advance payment; the number who have not had their inspection to date and are awaiting payment by county in tabular form. [49057/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

EU regulations governing the administration of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme (ANC) and other area-based schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including Ground or Remote Sensing (Satellite) inspections where applicable, are fully completed to ensure eligibility with the various schemes requirements before any payments issue. There are certain minimum numbers of inspections that must take place annually under the various schemes. The regulations further prescribe that the inspection process must be fully completed before any payments can issue.

It is important to note that, in many cases, the existence of an inspection will not necessarily be delaying payment. In relation to the ANC Scheme, this scheme is subject to a range of eligibility and compliance criteria such as the requirement to meet a minimum stocking density in addition to maintaining minimum livestock units calculated over the twelve months of the scheme year. At this stage, a number of farmers are not eligible to receive payment as they have not met scheme-specific criteria. When an applicant meets these criteria, they will become eligible for payment, which will be processed promptly. Factors that may impact on payment issuing under BPS include, for example, applications to transfer entitlements, request for change in ownership etc., and officials in my Department are actively processing such cases.

Some 8,000 applicants have been selected for a Land Eligibility inspection in respect of the various 2019 area-based schemes. Where an application is selected for inspection under any of the area-based schemes, the outcome of that inspection applies to all schemes for which the applicant has applied.

The following table details the position on Ground and Remote Sensing inspections, as of 25 November, in relation to the BPS/Greening Payment and the ANC/Islands Schemes. I am providing this data at national level as the annual inspection programmes, including the risk analysis selection process, operates on a national basis. Therefore, any comparison on a county basis is meaningless.

Scheme

Number of Eligible Applicants

Number of Eligible Applicants Subject to Inspection

Number of Inspection Cases Fully Complete and Advanced to Payment Stage

Number of Inspection Cases Fully Complete and Paid

Number of Inspection Cases Fully Complete and Not Yet Paid

Number of Inspection cases to be Finalised

BPS/Greening

121,978

7,747

6,656

6,476

180

1,091

ANC/Islands

103,822

6,859

5,950

5,074

876

909

In situations where the inspection is finalised and an applicant is not yet paid, these relate mainly to cases where the scheme eligibility criteria have not yet been met, as I outlined earlier, or they have been finalised since the last run of scheme payments and will be included in the scheme payments commencing next week.

Regarding cases yet to be finalised, these fall into a number of categories, namely, applicants have been notified of the inspection outcome where an area over-declaration has been identified and a response is awaited; applicants have chosen to submit comments on notified inspection outcomes - these are currently being examined and are subject to final processing. The inspection results for the balance of cases are currently being finalised and will then be advanced through the final stages of processing promptly.

I can assure the Deputy that my Department continues to finalise cases including, Ground and Remote Sensing cases on a daily basis to ensure that BPS payments are issued as quickly as possible.

Payments under the Protein Aid Scheme, Young Farmers Scheme and the Beef Data and Genomics Programmes are due to commence in early December, therefore detailed data in relation to these schemes is not yet available.

Advance payments under the Organic Farming Scheme are due to commence this week in respect of cases where all administration checks and validations have been completed. Detailed data is not yet available for these payments.

There are a total of 328 approved applicants in the Burren Programme. 20 applicants have been selected for inspection, of which 13 have received their advance payment. The remaining 7 cases are subject to final processing and the advance payment will issue as soon as possible on completion of this process.