Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has called for Minister Creed to immediately extend the upcoming May 31st deadline for applications for the Knowledge Transfer Group (KTG) scheme.

Deputy McConalogue made the call following complaints that a number of online systems for submitting paperwork under the KTG scheme are not yet up and running.

“It makes no sense that the current May 31st deadline would stand when the online systems for the Transfer Farm Improvement Plan, the Breeding Plan and the Carbon Navigator are not operational yet.  People cannot be approved for these schemes without fully submitting their paperwork, but they can’t do that when the online application process isn’t accessible”, explained Deputy McConalogue.

“Responding to a Parliamentary Question on the issue, Minister Creed is refusing to extend the deadline for the completion of works and actions under the KTG scheme, despite calls from Teagasc, veterinary professionals and KTG facilitators.  This is very disappointing.

“There are around 20,000 farmers enrolled in the KTG scheme, which is running 26% behind the 27,000 participant target set by the Fine Gael led government.  We are nearly halfway through the current 2014-2020 CAP programme and not one cent of the €100m allocated to the Knowledge Transfer Programme has been spent.  This is a shocking state of affairs.

“The Minister needs to commit to a two month extension to the KTG scheme, and he should make provisions for the scheme to be reopened for new participants. It is vital farmers are encouraged to sign up and that all available funding is fully drawn down in order to avoid another large underspend in yet another RDP scheme”.