87% of Irish farmers apply online for annual €1.2 billion BPS
Commenting on the figures published by the Department following the official closing date of the scheme, the Minister said; "I am greatly encouraged by the very significant number of farmers applying online for their basic payment this year.
"87% of farmers availed of the online option for the 2017 scheme, a number which far exceeds the EU target of 75% for this period. 13,000 extra farmers made the move online making it a total of 113,600 online applications which puts Ireland well on track to meeting the 100% online target for 2018.
Under EU Regulations, Member States are required to move to 100% online applications by 2018.
Referring to initiatives run by the Department to assist farmers with this process the Minister stated; "My Department has put in place a range of supports in order to encourage farmers to apply online for their BPS.
"For example, officials from my Department have been in a number of locations around the country in recent weeks meeting directly with farmers on a one to one basis and helping them through the online BPS application process. The feedback received from farmers using this service has been very positive.
"In advance of the EU requirement that 100% of applications are online in 2018, my Department will continue to work with farmers, farm bodies, and agricultural advisors to ensure that the continued roll out of online BPS application will deliver real benefits for farmers in a way that ensures that access to this vital support is not impeded." ■