Independent view: Let's hope the ICMSA's credit plan gets going
The ICMSA initiative that aims to deliver credit at competitive rates to farmers is entering a critical phase.
The farm body has prepared a strong proposal, which is due to be studied by the local banks and Dutch outfit Rabobank in the coming weeks.
It is also understood that an American bank, which is keen to expand its operations here, has also expressed interest in the idea.
Co-op support is the key to the initiative, which would see farmers issued with the loans and their co-ops facilitating repayments.
Under the conditions of the loans, the co-ops would be mandated to make deductions for repayments from milk cheques during the peak supply months.
At a basic level, the concept is both simple and tried and tested. For a bank without a national branch network in Ireland, the involvement of the co-ops gives the lender greater security and puts order to the repayment process.
Informed sources say they are hopeful, rather than confident, of the idea getting the green light.
However, there appears to be a unity of purpose building in support of the proposal between both the co-ops and the ICMSA.