Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív is putting renewed pressure on the Agriculture Minister to review the current Beef Data Genomics Scheme. New figures released to the Galway West TD reveal that almost two-thirds of farmers have not submitted the relevant data to qualify for the programme.
Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “Following a series of questions, Minister Coveney has confirmed that only 10,542 herd owners have submitted genotype samples to the laboratory. More than 27,000 farmers applied for the scheme but many have not followed up with the required lab and paperwork. Not only has the Minister failed to meet his own target of 35,000 farmers on board with the scheme, those who have applied are being turned off because of the large volume of paperwork and specimen requirements.
“It is quite obvious from this data that there are still a lot of farmers who are very sceptical about the scheme and are particularly concerned about possible penalties in years to come. A budget of €300m has been allocated for the programme over the next six years; however, this information would indicate that less than €10m will be spent on the scheme this year.
“Minister Coveney needs to seriously re-evaluate the programme. It is not working in its current form. Targets are already being missed and farmers are not being incentivised to take part in it. These figures should act as a wake-up call for the Minister. I am urging him to undertake a review of the scheme in order to get more farmers to participate and to ensure that it is successful”.