The commitment comes as figures reveal the first ‘online-only’ CAP Single Application Form (SAF) has been a resounding success, with 16,252 applications received.
The commitment comes as figures reveal the first ‘online-only’ CAP Single Application Form (SAF) has been a resounding success, with 16,252 applications received by the 16 May deadline.
The SAF is used by farmers to claim their CAP Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and land-based rural development payments. The move online was established to provide a new modern service for farm businesses, simplifying and improving processes and access to information.
Wales is leading the way in the UK as the only home nation to provide a 100% digital approach to these applications.
Welcoming the news, the Cabinet Secretary said:
“As Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, I am looking forward to leading work that affects every corner of Wales – from improving the quality of the air we breathe to the development of a world-class food and drinks sector.
“I recognise the significance of the farming industry to Welsh communities, our natural resources and to the strength of the national economy. Farming accounts for the management of over 80% of our land area, the delivery of a wide range of goods and services to society, the quality of our landscapes and a thriving food and drinks industry, where the supply chain accounts for 17% of the jobs in Wales.
“Our move to online SAF applications for the CAP is a major part of our drive to modernise the services we provide to the farming community, reducing bureaucracy, and making best use of new technology to allow applications to be processed more quickly and efficiently. This in turn gives farmers more time to focus on the important business of farming.
“Our leading online performance was greatly aided from working with the farming unions and agents who have offered assistance to many farmers in making their applications. I am grateful to them all for helping make the RPW Ar-lein/Online system such a success.”
In addition to our work with the farming unions, Rural Payments Wales (RPW) also provided extensive one-to-one support to 1,680 farmers, with meetings taking place at six RPW offices across Wales. Feedback from farm businesses who have taken advantage of the additional support offered by RPW has been overwhelmingly positive.
In addition, the RPW Customer Contact Centre assisted thousands of farmers over the telephone, with over 12,000 calls in the last month alone, and operated extended opening hours in the last couple of weeks to meet customer needs.