IOFGA’s general manager, Gillian Westbrook, calls on the decision makers to play fair with organic farmers who are waiting to hear when and how much they will be paid.
Ms. Westbrook said: “Payments from the AEOS and Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) are being held up for 148 farmers because the species rich grassland criteria under AEOS is considered to be the same as the environmental contribution from organic farming practices. In other words, some officials believe farmers are being paid twice for the same contribution. This is outrageously unfair as farmers were not aware of the change which took place in 2011, especially as it was acceptable for 2010 payments. Furthermore, organic farmers are already limited in criteria options on offer in environmental schemes, and species rich grassland is one that many extensive organic farmers can choose.”
Ms. Westbrook also emphasized that while officials are deciding, no payment will be made for either scheme. “We need clear guidelines on criteria so that organic farmers can make an informed choice. It is not acceptable to move the goal posts, especially as farmers will have retained areas of land to fulfill the requirements”.
For further details contact:
IOA General Manager, tel 090-64-33680, 087-781-9967
IOA Development Officer, tel 087-612-5989