The Welsh farming unions have expressed concern about the widespread repercussions for farming and related sectors of delays in the delivery of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments.
The Welsh Government has now made part-payments of £105m to 12,650 farm businesses, more than 81 per cent of those eligible.
NFU Cymru said it was essential the outstanding claims were paid before the BPS 2016 application process starts shortly, while the Farmers Union of Wales is warning that many in the industry are now facing extreme financial difficulty.
“It is unacceptable that thousands of cash-strapped farmers are still waiting for their BPS part payments,” said NFU Cymru president, Stephen James.
“They must be paid as soon as possible or there is a danger that the delays may compromise the ability to smoothly implement the application window for 2016.
“We have been inundated with members informing us about the lack of information available on their individual cases when they ring the Rural Payments Wales customer contact centre.
“I have written to the Deputy Minister to re-iterate once again the importance of ensuring the remaining BPS part-payments are made as soon as possible.
“I have asked that where payments continue to be delayed that firm details are given as to when the individual business is to receive payment and be provided with a named contact within Welsh Government for them to discuss their case.
“This is absolutely crucial to help with farm business planning and for farmers to be able to discuss their circumstances with their banks and creditors.
“Farmers surely have every right to know the situation regarding their own payment.”
FUW president, Glyn Roberts, said the union had consistently lobbied the Welsh Government over the past 12 months to do all it could to accelerate the processing of payments and warning that delays would have widespread repercussions for farmers and the wider rural economy.
The most recent figures showed around 3,400 businesses still to be paid, he said.
“Those businesses have been extremely patient but as we approach the middle of February many are now facing crippling financial pressures, with mouths that need to be fed, bills that need to be paid and loans which need to be serviced,” said Mr Roberts.
In his letter to the Deputy Minister, he highlights that in some cases farmers have had to approach their banks for a second time in order to extend overdrafts to be able to continue with essential farm work, while others had been refused extensions due to the uncertainty of when they were likely to receive their payments.