New EU funding measures will provide unique opportunities for farmers – Hogan

The new funding measures for agriculture announced earlier this week by the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide a unique business development opportunity for farmers according to EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan.

Speaking at a press conference in Belfast recently he said that it will, in essence allow each region of the EU to draw down in loan form €5 for every €1 placed into a guarantee fund by the competent organisation concerned.

“In Ireland the relevant body will be Department of Agriculture. These soft loans will be paid back at extremely low interest rates over an extended period of time. The monies drawn down by farmers can then be used to fund on-farm development projects, new dairy processing facilities and forestry related projects.”

The Commissioner expects the various regions of the EU to have plans drawn up on how the new funding opportunities can be best utilised. The time scale for this to happen is weeks – not months, he said.

A series of commission road shows, profiling potential investment opportunities for famers will be held in the very near future. Dublin will be one of the venues included.

Hogan has also confirmed that EU member states can also use national funds to access the EIB loans.

“The system put in place, allowing the money to be accessed, will be extremely flexible,” he said.

“Regions may wish to look at small scale investment plans initially. However, these can be built upon over the coming years.”

Hogan also indicated that he wants to see the EU play its part in meeting the increased demand for food that will develop around the world over the coming decades.

“Europe must be part of the solution in this regard,” he said.

“It is one of my core priorities to ensure that farmers in the EU can produce more food, more sustainably.”