Galway East TD Michael Kitt is calling for a cut in the red tape associated with the State support schemes available to farmers. Deputy Kitt has said that farmers in Galway and across the country are faced with an excessive level of paperwork, complications and delays in securing payments under a range initiatives.
Deputy Kitt commented, “I have been contacted by several farmers who are struggling with the complicated process of applying for the funding supports available to them.
For example, the new sheep dispatch sheet for the sale of sheep is a very complicated document. The Agri-Environment Options Scheme, AEOS, also requires farmers to have a specific type of fencing. This is an over-bureaucratic approach that must be avoided.
“There has been huge disappointment with the delays in the 2010 AEOS payments and the fact that the Government cut the maximum payments to €4,000 in the new scheme. This must be rectified, particularly when one considers how the REPS scheme improved farming over the past several years with up to 60,000 farmers participating benefiting. It is frustrating that many of these environmental measures and schemes get much support in Europe, yet Ireland cuts back on them.
“Thousands of farmers protested in Dublin last week to raise awareness of the need for fair trade legislation. The protest was in response to the Competition Authority’s raid on head offices of the Irish Farmers’ Association last week. The IFA was raided under competition legislation because it was trying to protect prices for producers.
“This is further evidence that fair trade legislation is long overdue. We must ensure that the laws which have been promised for so long will be brought before the Dáil as soon as possible. The farming community has been waiting for too long for a time when multiples do not enjoy such power to drive prices down.
“Fianna Fáil introduced a successful Private Members Motion on Agriculture in the Dáil last week, calling on the government to recognise that agriculture and the agri-food is the most important indigenous industry in this country and will play a crucial role in creating jobs and boosting exports.
“As part of this motion, Fianna Fáil urged the Government to introduce fair trade legislation that will establish a mandatory code of practice governing the relationship between retailers and suppliers. We recognise the importance of ensuring that there is a balanced relationship between the various players in the grocery goods sector, particularly given the importance of this sector to the national economy. I want to ensure that the needs of farmers and food producers here in Co Galway and across the country are not forgotten in the push for affordable prices for consumers.”