Knowledge Transfer extension welcomed
On Monday, the Irish Farmers Journal exclusively revealed that the Department had been forced into accepting defeat over the repeated failures of the KT online portal and extended the deadline by two months.
The new deadline is 31 July for the KT programme, which sees some 20,000 farmers receive an annual payment of €750 for attending discussion group meetings as well as carrying out measures including a herd health plan.
Urgent review of KT
IFA rural development chairman Joe Brady has welcomed the extension saying that the IFA had been lobbying for the extension for the original deadline of 31 May.
“Farmers must not be victims of the difficulties the Department of Agriculture has had with its IT systems, and Knowledge Transfer payments must not be delayed,” Brady said.
“Given the difficulties that have plagued the Knowledge Transfer scheme since it commenced, IFA is now calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed to instigate a review of the scheme, as promised by the Department of Agriculture to the IFA some months ago,” Brady added.
Common sense prevails
President of the Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) Laura Johnston has also welcomed the extension but said there is now pressure on the Department to deliver a functioning online portal.
“It is good to see that common sense has prevailed here and the extension is fine but the Department needs to step up to the plate and deliver an online system that works. I’m on it here now (Monday morning) and there’s still no sign of the system being open,” Johnston said.
The Co Wexford-based adviser said her members “have been under huge stress” over the past two weeks getting Basic Payment Scheme applications sorted as well as dealing with the KT programme.