Ulster Bank has announced that it is now accepting applications for the Government’s Future Growth Loan Scheme, which will see loans from €50,000 being issued for farmers.

The loan scheme is being delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), and will see €3 million worth of loans being payed out to small and medium enterprises (SME) and agri-businesses.

The loans will be provided with terms of eight to 10 years, Ulster Bank explained in a statement.

The scheme funds capital expenditure projects, and promotes business investment through “competitively-priced loans”, with unsecured loans of up to €500,000.

Commenting on Ulster Bank’s announcement, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “I welcome that the Future Growth Loan Scheme is now available through Ulster Bank. As I’ve said before, this is a long-awaited source of finance for young and new entrant farmers, especially the cohort who do not have high levels of security.

“It will also serve smaller-scale farmers, who often do not have the leverage to negotiate for more favourable terms with their banking institution. Additionally, food companies have identified long-term investment finance of up to 10 years as a critical need that is currently unavailable in Ireland,” the minister added.

Its effects will be felt all along the food production chain from primary producer to processor level.

Meanwhile, Eddie Cullen, the managing director of Ulster Bank’s Commercial Banking Division, said: “Ulster Bank is delighted to make the Future Growth Loan Scheme available to both existing and prospective customers.

“Ulster Bank’s participation in the scheme reflects our long-standing support for the Irish farming sector, agri-business and SMEs. From today [Monday, September 16], our team of specialists are available across the country to answer queries on this loan scheme and all other Ulster Bank products,” said Cullen.

The loans are being offered in partnership by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation; and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and benefits from an EU guarantee under: the European Fund for Strategic Investments; the European Investment Bank; and the European Investment Fund.

For more information on the application process, click here or contact your Ulster Bank representative.