The View from Northern Ireland: A Northern Ireland Executive Agri-Food Loan Scheme, amounting to £10m, has been launched this week and the first stage will be opened to broiler producers next month.

The joint government-bank scheme is set to operate over two years  and discussions are ongoing with banks to roll the it out to the pig meat, egg producers, red meat and dairy sectors. Participating banks include Bank of Ireland, Barclays Bank, Danske Bank, First Trust Bank, Santander and Ulster Bank.

Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) President Harry Sinclair welcomed the launch saying it will provide the help needed to access finance for farmers looking to invest in their businesses and expand production.

In addition, the Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to commit further funding for this scheme should there be significant demand.

UFU’s Sinclair said: “This Agri-Food Loan Scheme is sending a very clear message from the Northern Ireland Executive that they are committed to making a real and tangible investment in the agri-food industry. It has been a tough couple of years for farmers and this scheme presents a much-needed opportunity for farmers to invest in their businesses, enabling them to take advantage of the opportunities for growth that exist.”

Image Shutterstock