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Irish Independent
Irish Independent

Farmers’ fertiliser records won’t be shared – Department

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Records collected of farmers’ fertiliser purchases from next year will not be shared with other Government Departments or agencies, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed.

The development of the National Fertiliser Database is ongoing; it is planned to come into effect on January 1, 2023.

The proposed database will record fertiliser sales, with the information primarily be entered by retailers.

The primary aim is to provide the State with accurate tracking of fertiliser sales throughout the supply chain and provide a more realistic picture of where fertiliser is applied to land.

The Department said the database will have multiple benefits to farmers, too, including facilitating timely payments under Ireland’s proposed Eco-Scheme in the next CAP and minimising the reporting burden on farmers who participate in Eco-Scheme actions relating to fertiliser and lime use, and those

availing of the Nitrates Derogation.

The database will allow farmers to view their own data on the Department’s online portal,

It will record fertiliser sales and allow farmers to declare closing stock on farm at the end of the fertiliser-spreading season.

It will also allow input of opening stock.

The requirement for the database will be for all fertiliser sales to be input. This will be done at the point of sale using the purchasers’ unique identifier.

In relation to protecting farmers’ privacy, the Department said all personal data processing would take place in accordance with the law on Data Protection.

When asked if farmers’ records will be shared with other Departments or state agencies, the Department said: “Information contained in the database will only be for purposes connected to the functions of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.”

However, it also said in time, farmers may be able to use this information to qualify for possible voluntary industry sustainability initiatives that will reward certain farmer actions.

Similar systems are in operation in some other EU Member States including Denmark and Belgium, the Department said.

The proposed legislation required to underpin the database is expected to be finalised by the end of this year.

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