Bank of Ireland has announced the launch of a loan fund worth €100 million aimed at farmers impacted by input costs.

The Agri Assist Loan Fund is now open to farmers. Farmers can avail of additional working capital for their farm at a 3.86% rate, with repayment terms of between six months and three years, depending on need.

Loans of up to €100,000 will be available under the scheme.

Farmers will be able to use loans to finance the cost of growing grass, silage and tillage crops, and to pay merchant or co-op bills for feed or fertiliser.

Bank of Ireland said that its ‘agri support team’ will “continue to keep the issue under constant review, working with farmers as the situation evolves.”

The bank noted that a recent United Nation (UN) report revealed that world food prices hit their highest ever levels in March, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine cutting off a major part of the global grain supply.

Eoin Lowry, head of agri-sector for Bank of Ireland, said: “[We] currently provide more than 50% of new lending to the agri-sector, and our primary role is to support and advise farmers on meeting challenges as they arise.

“There is no doubt that the increasing price of farm inputs has placed extra strain on cashflows. Given that only one third of farmers currently have borrowings, we have launched the Agri Assist Loan Fund to ease some of this strain.

“This new fund provides an additional level of support to farmers so that they can ensure they have sufficient cash to manage their farms through the summer months,” Lowry added.

Bank of Ireland is a member of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee that was established in March by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue in response to the challenging inflation for agricultural inputs.