MID-ULSTER DUP MLA Ian McCrea has welcomed the manner in which the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development has implemented changes to speed up single farm payments following an oral question to the DARD Minister.
Mr McCrea said: “I was contacted by a number of constituents regarding the length of time they had been waiting on their applications for single farm payments to be processed, so I took the opportunity to question the Agriculture Minister at Stormont last week on the matter.
“I welcome the commitment by the Minister to meet targets of between 93% and 94% of all 2011 single farm payments to be completed by 31 March 2012, but I would press that fact that further steps must be taken to speed up this process and ensure that 100% of payments are processed on time.”
“I highlighted the significance of these payments to the income of farm businesses and welcome the implementation by the department of diverting staff, introducing some software modification and adjusting the detailed processing arrangement, which has shown signs of increasing the number of payments being processed.”
He added: “I understand that the department has committed that next year we will not be sitting in the same position, with a small percentage of people remaining to be paid after the deadline date, but I will wait with interest to see this pay fruition.”