Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has welcomed the decision by Minister Michael Creed to extend the deadline for applications for the Knowledge Transfer Group (KTG) scheme until the end of July.

Deputy McConalogue had previously called on the Minister to delay the cut-off date to give farmers the opportunity to get their paperwork in order after problems emerged with the Department’s online application system.

He commented, “I am glad that Minister Creed has finally listened to the concerns of farmers and farming organisations and has extended the deadline for the Knowledge Transfer Group (KTG) scheme until the end of July.

“I have been inundated with queries from worried farmers who were genuinely fearful that they would miss out on essential funding because they had been unable to complete their applications for the Knowledge Transfer Group scheme online.  IT problems within the Department’s own system have led to issues with farmers being unable to submit their paperwork.

“While I welcome the fact that the Minister has finally woken up to the seriousness of the situation and extended the deadline, there are a number of other issues with the scheme that need to be addressed. There are around 20,000 farmers signed up to the KTG scheme, and despite the fact that we are almost halfway through the current 2014-2020 CAP programme, not one cent of the €100m allocated to the Knowledge Transfer Programme has been spent.

“I am calling on Minister to ensure that this funding is rolled out efficiently so that farmers can carry out work on their farms without delay”.