I have called on the Government to fulfil a Programme for Government commitment to introduce a new REPS scheme for farmers.
‘A new pilot scheme has been developed by the Department of Agriculture with no consultation with farm organisations. The fund being put in place is far short of what was promised. There is only €10 million available this year despite a commitment and expectation of €150 million per annum.
‘The new pilot scheme is very limited and the amount of return to farmers is very little. This will create a lot of work for very little gain for farmers. The threshold is too low as the maximum grant is €1,200. This money will be eroded in costs to plan the scheme and invest in materials.
‘I am calling on the Government and the Minister to re-visit this pilot and ensure that farmers are compensated properly and that the scheme puts money into the pockets of farmers. As we all know, when farmers get money they will spend it in the local economy.
‘Farmers want a simple, manageable, meaningful, effective scheme. At the end of the day expectations were raised by the Government and now they must deliver on this commitment.’