17th November, 2016

Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pat Deering TD, has welcomed an important step in the establishment of the “Agri Cash flow Support Loan Scheme”. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has today invited banks and other lenders to take part in the new loan scheme that will make €150 million available to farmers at low-cost interest rates of 2.95%.

Deputy Deering said, “One of this Governments priorities has been to address the impact on farmers of the sustained period of lower commodity prices. This loan scheme forms part of a “three pillar strategy” in response to income volatility, which I announced as part of the recent Budget. Along with tax measures and farm payments, it will alleviate some of the pressures being caused by the current market difficulties including currency fluctuation in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum”.

This scheme will enable farmers to improve the management of their cash flow and reduce the cost of their short-term borrowings. The scheme is being developed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in partnership with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). Public funding of €25 million from the Department, which includes €11 million made available under the EU’s exceptional adjustment aid for milk and other livestock farmers and €14million in national funding, provides leverage for the €150 million scheme.

Deputy Deering concluded, “2016 has been a challenging year for farmers. As well as income volatility, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the potential impact of Brexit on the Irish agri-food sector. In this context the scheme will enable farmers to improve their working capital position and provide longer-term financial stability”.