Healy says low cost loans must be available to farmers in January
IFA President Joe Healy has written to the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, making it clear that there can be no delays in the delivery of the low cost agri-cashflow loans, and that they must be available to farmers in January.
Healy said it is critically important that the agri-cashflow loans are available for farmers in January 2017.
It had been anticipated that the monies would be available early in the new year and that is the SCBI target, however concerns have been raised that it might be as late as March at the earliest before the loans come on stream.
A scramble to authorise and draw down the loans seems inevitable as the full €150m must be utilised before the end of September 2017 under EU rules.
“There has been a hugely positive response from the farming sector to the announcement of these loans, and it is my belief that there will be strong demand for the loan fund, with farmers using the funding available to restructure their financial commitments and to access low-cost working capital,” he said.
“However, the absence of concrete timelines for availability of the loans as we approach the end of December has led to significant concerns and uncertainty. Farmers will make their financial planning decisions early in the year, and it is critical that these loans are available as early as possible.”
Healy continued, “Throughout 2016, IFA worked hard to secure low-cost funding for the farming sector, to deal specifically with cashflow pressures and to provide flexible working capital funding options”.
He said he has requested that the Minister communicate with the SBCI as a matter of urgency.