Up to €60 million available for farmers under loan scheme

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed to AgriLand that up to €60 million will be available for farmers under the Future Growth Loan Scheme, with the possibility that this figure may be reviewed.

The department also said that €120 million – out of a total of €300 million – has been earmarked for the agri-food sector generally.

There will be €50 to €60 million available initially for farmers, within an overall agri-food package of €120 million. Should demand exceed these levels, this can be reviewed.

The scheme was originally announced in Budget 2018 (announced in 2017) and has faced a number of issues getting off the ground.

In December of 2018, Minister Michael Creed said in the Dail that the scheme would be rolled out early this year.

The minister said he was “frustrated at the difficulty in progressing the matter”, and added that the delay in the scheme’s implementation was caused by a separate delay in the European Investment Fund Agreement Bill, which was necessary for the scheme here to get the green light.

It has been a more cumbersome and difficult process than we anticipated, and it has taken longer than I would have liked.

The purpose of the scheme is to offer “competitively priced” loans to eligible businesses, including in the agriculture and agri-food sectors.

The €300 million scheme will be funded by the Government to the tune of €62 million, of which around 40%, or €25 million, will come from Minister Creed’s department.

The minister had earlier said that the scheme “will address what we believe is a deficit in the market already, insofar as it will be longer term money than what’s generally available”.