Farmers 'need more low-cost loans'
More low-cost loans need to be introduced to help farmers deal with the financial fall-out of the fodder crisis, members of the Oireachtas Agricultural Committee have urged.
Representatives from the country's main banks told members of the committee yesterday they do not expect the full financial impact of the fodder crisis to be felt by farmers until later in the year when bills have to be repaid.
AIB head of agriculture Anne Finnegan said: "The problem hasn't come to our door yet but feed purchased on credit will have to be repaid and we'll see that flow through current accounts. We fully expect for that to materialise throughout the summer months."
Ulster Bank senior agricultural manager Dr Ailish Byrne said farmers are focusing on getting operations back on track and have yet to focus on working capital issues.
However, committee members said the lack of low-cost loans available to farmers is the reason banks haven't seen liquidity issues among their farmers. Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny urged banks to provide more affordable loans to help farmers through crises.