Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Agriculture Minister to ensure that the low cost loan scheme, promised for the second half of this year is rolled out on time.
Deputy Smith was reacting to media reports that it may be 2019 before farmers will be able to draw down any money.
“Farmers in Cavan, Monaghan and across the country have experienced one of the toughest years in recent times. An unseasonably wet winter combined with an unusually dry and warm summer has had a serious impact on crop and livestock yields. A fodder shortage is on the cards again and farmers are growing increasingly worried about the months ahead”, explained Deputy Smith.
“All these issues are already to the fore before the added implications of Brexit are considered. This week we have seen a dramatic drop in the value of Sterling, which is having a serious impact on border farmers.
“The financial pressure being experienced by the agri-community cannot be underestimated. They feel like they are taking hit after hit, with no relief in sight. I am very worried by recent reports about the lack of progress being made in the roll out of the low cost loan scheme announced by Minister Creed earlier this year.
“When questioned about it he confirmed to me that “these schemes are developed and delivered in cooperation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and take time to develop and operationalise. Consideration and discussions are ongoing in this regard and I will announce further details on this as they become available”.
“Many farmers will simply not be able to wait until 2019 to access funds. They need money to see them through the winter months, especially if the conditions are similar to those which were experienced last year. Farmers are experiencing serious cash flow issues and need access to every assistance available and this low cost loan scheme was a key part of Minister Creed’s plan for 2018.
“I am calling on him to explain when exactly this scheme will be opened and when farmers can expect to draw down money”.