Details regarding the launch of a new low-cost loan scheme for farmers are expected to be announced “shortly“, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has confirmed.

Speaking to AgriLand earlier this week, the minister outlined that such a scheme is a “really complex piece of work” and that his department is dealing with “multiple partners” on the project.

A cross-departmental group, including: the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation; and the Department of Finance is working on the scheme.

As well as this, the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and the pillar banks are also involved in its formation.

Giving an update on the progress being made towards introducing a new low-cost loan scheme, Minister Creed said: “Getting all of those moving in the one direction to formulate a product that will get to market takes time and it requires EU approval as well.

I would expect that we will have an announcement shortly on the detail of it.

A total of €25 million was allocated in Budget 2018 in order to set up a new low-cost loan scheme for farmers. This follows the success of the €150 million Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme, which ran in the early part of 2017.

The minister explained that the 2017 scheme was “primarily motivated because we felt that there wasn’t sufficient competition in the market”.

“Very interestingly, we have a number of financial houses – pillar banks, credit unions and co-ops – that are now active in that space developing products.

“We are seeing more competition and that’s really important,” he concluded.


Meanwhile, earlier this week the chief executive of the SBCI, Nick Ashmore, stated that the corporation is limited in terms of its ability to bring loan schemes to market by the inability of the market to absorb more than one scheme at a time.

Ashmore made the point as he spoke at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, September 4.

Speaking at the meeting, the SBCI’s chief executive said: “I would say that we are limited in terms of our ability to bring schemes to market by the inability of the market really to absorb more than one scheme at a time.

“We delivered the Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme, we then delivered the Brexit Loan Scheme and now we are in the process of working out and delivering the next scheme – which, as the minister said, is focused on long-term capital investment and finance.”