A closer look at the breakdown of the low-cost loan scheme to date

It was recently revealed that a total of €60.2m has been drawn down to date by farmers, as part of the low-cost loan scheme.

The average loan size under the scheme, also known as the Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme, has equalled just over €32,000, according to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

Developed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in co-operation with the SBCI, the scheme aims to make €150 million available to farmers at interest rates of 2.95%.

It has previously been confirmed that the entire €150m budget allocated to the scheme has been fully committed.

Distributed and administered through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, the scheme aimed to provide farmers with a low-cost, flexible source of working capital.

It was hoped this would allow them to pay down more expensive forms of short-term debt, ensuring the ongoing financial sustainability of viable farming enterprises.

The SBCI anticipates, based on progress so far, that approximately 4,000 farmers will benefit from the scheme.

Sector split

As of April 28, a total of 1,859 farmers have drawn down loans from the scheme; the average loan size has equalled €32,424.

The livestock sector, including dairy, has been allocated 86% of the total amount of funds drawn down; with just 14% (207 loans) confirmed to the non-livestock sectors.

By value, 42% of the total funds drawn down so far can be attributed to the dairy sector. A total of €25,566,428 has been drawn down as part of 693 loans, meaning the average loan in the dairy sector equates to €36,892.

The beef sector is a close second, with 41% of the value of the loans drawn down to date. Some 887 loans have been confirmed with an average of size of €27,609; a total of €24,488,802 has been allocated to the beef sector to date.

Just over €1.1m has been allocated to the sheep sector so far; with an average loan size of €17,108 confirmed to the 65 loan applicants.

Meanwhile, the pig sector has recorded an average loan size of €80,000. With just 1% of the total value of loans drawn down, this equates to an even split of €560,000 among seven loan applicants.

With regard to the non-livestock sectors, a total of €4,545,000 has been drawn down by applicants from the tillage sphere through the scheme. The average loan size among the 90 applicants has equalled €50,500.

The horticulture sector has recorded the highest average loan size to date, equalling €106,417. With just six applicants from this sector, this amounts to €638,500; or 1% of the value of funds drawn down so far.

The remaining €3,366,112 drawn down has been categorised as ‘other’, with an average loan size of €32,424.

Loan term

Figure show that 54% (just short of €32.5m) of the total value of loans drawn down, as of April 28, have been advanced as part of loans with a term of four years or more. This equates to 782 loan applicants with an average loan size of €41,551.

Meanwhile, loans granted with a term of between two and three years accounted for 476 loan applicants with an average loan size of €20,649. This amounts to €9,829,117 or 16% of the total value of loans drawn down to date.

Loans with a one-year term proved a popular choice, representing 30% of the €60.2m drawn down so far under the scheme. An average loan size of €29,875 was recorded among the 601 loan applicants.

Regional split

According to figures from the SBCI, 35% of the value of loans drawn so far (€21,247,847) have been advanced to applicants in the border, midlands and west regions.

The remaining 65% or €39,028,995 has been advanced to applicants in the mid-east, mid-west, south-east and south-west regions.

Loan applicants in the mid-west, south-east and south-west regions have been allocated the highest percentage value of the funds drawn down so far; with 16%, 17% and 22% respectively.