Derry City Council is set to debate a call for the Minister of Agriculture to carry out an investigation into a new rural mapping system.
The motion, which has been tabled by rural SDLP councillor Thomas Conway, claims that the new system contains “many inaccuracies” which could impact on this year’s single farm payment scheme.
It will be debated at the monthly meeting of Derry City Council which will take place in the Council Offices, Strand Road, this afternoon.
The three part motion calls on Council to express concern about the new mapping system and for the minister to ensure local farmers that they will not lose out financially as a result of the difficulties. It also calls for an investigation into the introduction of the new mapping system.
Colr. Conway said: “This motion calls on the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Michelle O’Neill to explain the failure to deliver an adequate mapping system for the agriculture sector given that over £20 million of public money has been spent on funding a flawed system,” he claimed.”
The Park councillor said many people in farming communities are concerned about the new system. “This has the potential to cause huge difficulties for farming families at a time when the agriculture sector is at its most vulnerable following food scares and one of the worst winters in living history.
“All this has combined to put huge financial and mental pressure on the agricultural community.
“In respect of Single Farm Payments which are worth up to £200million to the local economy the agricultural community would have expected that a devolved Minister would have assured that nothing would interfere with people’s payments.
“Many farmers find that their maps are totally wrong and are finding it difficult to get an appointment with DARD. Further to that, it takes six weeks to amend maps and many as a result will not have a 2013 Single Farm Payment printed.
“This inevitably leads to chaos and as we have seen in the past DARD need little excuse to withhold payments.”