Call for banks and lenders to take part in low-cost loan scheme

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has today invited banks and other lenders to take part in the €150m Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme, announced as part of Budget 2017.

Under the low-cost loan scheme, a total of €150m will be available to farmers at low-cost interest rates of 2.95%.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has welcomed this step in the establishment of the scheme.

“Since taking up office, one of my priorities has been to address the impact on farmers of the sustained period of lower commodity prices.

“I am conscious that this has caused cashflow difficulties for farmers in several sectors.”

This loan scheme forms part of a “three pillar strategy” in response to income volatility, which I announced as part of the recent Budget.

“Along with tax measures and farm payments, it will alleviate some of the pressures being caused by the current market difficulties including currency fluctuation in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum,” Minister Creed said.

This scheme will enable farmers to improve the management of their cashflow and reduce the cost of their short-term borrowings and it is being developed by the Department and the SBCI.

Public funding of €25m from the Department, which includes €11m made available under the EU’s exceptional adjustment aid for milk and other livestock farmers and €14m in national funding, provides leverage for the €150m scheme.

“2016 has been a challenging year for farmers. As well as income volatility, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the potential impact of Brexit on the Irish agri-food sector.

“In this context the scheme will enable farmers to improve their working capital position and provide longer-term financial stability,” the Minister said.