EID plans drawn up for Wales

THE Welsh Government is drawing up a sheep EID database in an attempt to iron out much of the bureaucracy and inefficiencies of the recording regime following EU rejection of calls for tolerance at central point recording centres (CPRC).

Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Alun Davies, says he is “disappointed” that following lengthy negotiations in respect of implementing EU Regulation 21/2004, in particular the provision of a tolerance when read-rates are less than 100 per cent, the case had been rejected.

“In response to a revised UK proposal, which sets out a potential way forward through a limited tolerance, the Commission has confirmed that cross compliance requirements are not subject to prior validation or approval,” said Mr Davies.

“My officials have considered the way in which this limited tolerance might be implemented in Wales, the risk of future audit criticism and the complicated set of additional rules that would be required.

“Analysis of the 757 inspections undertaken during 2011 reveals that no Welsh farmers would qualify for the limited tolerance available.

“In light of this, I have decided not to provide a limited tolerance for Welsh farmers who fail to record the individual identities in their record books as a result of missed CPRC reads.

“I have made this decision having balanced the resource implications of introducing an additional complicated set of rules, both for farmers and officials, that would have to be communicated to farmers and the fact that no farmers would qualify for the tolerance in 2011 set against the risk to Welsh budgets of potentially €3.4m disallowance.

“It is clear that the core principle of individual recording through EID is here to stay and although I remain to be convinced over the ability of the technology to deliver 100 per cent accuracy, the industry, Government and equipment suppliers should now focus their energies on making the technology work.

“It is my intention to establish a Sheep EID Database for Wales to strengthen our management of this matter.

“To this end my officials are currently assessing the options and I expect to make an announcement at the end of February.

“The provision of this 21st century infrastructure will provide opportunities to remove much of the current bureaucracy and potentially provide a platform for the industry to consider more efficient and therefore profitable ways to produce lamb.

“It will also provide robust evidence on which to base future negotiations with the Commission.”

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