Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called for immediate action on the technical issues that farmers are facing in applying for the new Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) scheme.
There have been reports of technical issues and ‘glitches’ to farmers submitting their applications to the scheme, the deadline for which is May 29th. Concerns have also been raised around the complexity of the new application process and how time-consuming it is.
Teachta Kerrane has raised these issues with the Minister for Agriculture, and queried what the Department are doing to provide assistance to farmers and to ensure continuity under the BISS following on from the scheme it is replacing, the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“I have had contact from farmers concerned about a range of aspects of applications to the new BISS scheme.
“There have been technical issues which have resulted in challenges for farmers and farm advisors submitting their applications.
“As well as this, the additional complexity of the new application process under the BISS and related schemes, the Eco-scheme and Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS) scheme, has caused issues for farmers submitting their applications
“I have been contacted by farmers who are unsure of how to go about selecting the right actions that apply to their farming practices under this new application process, and are worried about how this will in turn affect the final payment they are to receive under the BISS scheme.
“While the BISS is the replacement scheme for the former under the new CAP, some farmers are concerned that their overall rate of payment will drop compared to what they received through the former BPS, despite the size of their farm and actions remaining unchanged.
“Ultimately, farmers have outgoings, bills and loan repayments, which don’t change despite a new payment scheme coming into place. This is something I have also raised in relation to the Minister’s announcement that there will be delays to BISS and ANC payments over recent weeks.
“Ideally, farmers submitting their BISS application would be aware of what payment rate they can expect ahead of the forthcoming deadlines, not afterwards and not as a result of the application process being too complex.
“I have asked the Minister to outline what engagement and assistance his Department are offering in cases where this is occurring, to prevent any sudden payment cliff-edges as a result of the move from BPS to BISS.
“These online applications for payments should be becoming easier and less complex rather than more.”