The number of farmers completing their Single Farm Payments online reached a record high this year according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney.

He said the online system continues to be a great success, with a record 80,000 applications submitted under the 2014 Scheme. This represents an 11-fold increase since the system was launched in 2007, each year bringing record numbers of online applications.

The Minister commented that: “Initially, farmers and their approved agents were attracted to iNet by the fact that it guaranteed immediate, verifiable receipt by my Department of their applications and, through the system of in-built validations, significantly reduced the numbers of errors that could be made, thereby ultimately leading to speedier payment. The introduction in 2012 of an on-line mapping element allowed farmers, or their agents, who needed to submit maps to the Department, to do so through iNet, thereby dispensing with the need to submit paper maps. While over 13,000 maps submitted online last year, this number increased to over 15,500 this year.”

The Minister started that there were no general issues regarding the mapping element of my Department’s online application system for the 2014 Single Payment Scheme.

That said he did note that there were a small number of individuals who reported access difficulties. In all instances these difficulties transpired to be browser-related. In this regard callers to the dedicated helpdesk, who reported such problems were advised to switch to the recommended browser.

He said: “It is important to highlight the fact that aside from the dedicated help line, online users also have access to the online user guide, which is a step by step guide to each stage of the process, including screenshots to assist the user.

“My Department remains committed to the continued ongoing development of iNet, to the mutual benefit of farmers and the efficient operation of payment systems.”