€300m loan scheme for farmers and SMEs launched

  • SMEs and farmers can apply for loan eligibility from April 17.
  • At least 40pc available to the agri-food sector.
  • Loans of up to €3m available.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Government has announced details of a €300m loan scheme for farmers and SMEs to support long-term investment post Brexit.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys along with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe launched the Future Growth Loan Scheme to allow for the roll out of €300m in funding to eligible Irish SMEs including farmers.

SMEs and farmers can apply for loan eligibility from 17th April. At least 40pc available to the agri-food sector and loans of up to €3m will be made available.

Three finance providers - AIB, Bank of Ireland and KBC - have agreed to participate in the Scheme and negotiations are ongoing with another two. The Government is urging businesses to use the coming three weeks to start preparing their proposals for long-term capital investment.

Minister Creed said 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. Along with products such as Milk Flex, this Scheme will form part of a comprehensive investment package for farmers. I am also delighted to be able to include the seafood sector in the scheme.

“Food companies have identified long term investment finance of up to ten years as a critical need which is currently unavailable in Ireland. I am pleased that the Government has been able to deliver this product and its effects will be felt all along the food production chain from primary producer to processor”.

This scheme will be available to eligible Irish SMEs including farmers and the agri-food and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment in a post Brexit environment.

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According to Minister Humphreys this Scheme unlocks a large fund of affordable investment financing for the future needs of businesses, and it follows on from the Government’s launch last year of the €300m Brexit Loan Scheme, which provides working capital support for businesses.

The funding allocations for the Future Growth Loan Scheme are €37m from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and €25m from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Of the total budget, €42m relates to expenditure in 2018 with a further €6m allocated in 2019 and the remaining €14m over a third tranche. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s share of funding ensures that at least 40pc of the fund will be available to farmers and agri-food and seafood businesses.

Online Editors