Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to intervene in a dispute between Farmers and Tegasc over the Knowledge Transfer (KT) Programme.
The Midlands North West MEP, who is also a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said:
“Farmers are angry that Teagasc continues to charge them for a service that the Department of Agriculture is already paying for.
“They claim that the additional fee was never flagged with them at the beginning of the scheme.
“In the scheme, the Department pays €1,250 in total for every participant of the KT groups.
“Of this, €750 is paid to the farmer while the facilitators (including Teagasc) get the remaining €500 for their services.
“Despite the deadline extension to August 21st, Teagasc have threatened farmers in the Knowledge Transfer scheme that if they do not pay the additional €145 fee that their plans will not be submitted.
“The letter, which is cited in today’s Farming Independent, demands payment by tomorrow.
“It says: ‘In order to participate in the Knowledge Transfer Discussion Group with Teagasc you must be a current and paid up client. Your client fee of €145 is outstanding for some time. Your records cannot be submitted by Teagasc to the Department of Agriculture until your contract has been paid.’
“I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture to intervene to ensure that Teagasc does not continue to move the goalposts.
“The deadline was extended to the 21st; So, why are they demanding money for tomorrow? Farmers are now losing any faith in this scheme.
“I have contacted the Minister’s office to request all information related by Ireland’s EU monitoring committee and which organizations approved of this Teagasc fee.”