IFA president Joe Healy has said it is a complete farce that the agri-loan scheme announced in last October’s Budget would not be available to farmers until the end of this year.
“Farmers were already frustrated that the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed, had indicated that it would be the second half of 2018 when money would be available to farmers. Now, it looks like it will be a race against time to have the money available at any stage in 2018. It is a complete farce,” he said.
Joe said an IFA delegation were informed of the further delay at a meeting with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland last week. The IFA has now written to Minister Creed seeking an urgent meeting to try and get the scheme up and running immediately.
“Farmers are crying out for some sort of help during what is an extraordinarily difficult time on farms due to the ongoing drought. These loans may have helped some farmers to fund some of the increased costs that have piled on in the last few weeks. Yet, it is clear that it is now a long way off,” he said.
IFA farm business chairman Martin Stapleton said he was hugely frustrated by the delays in getting a new agri-loan package up and running. “The late spring and the ongoing drought conditions have imposed savage costs on farmers. This is a practical measure that could give them some sort of break, yet all we see is inertia across Government Departments and State agencies.
“It is clear that the decision to extend these loans to include food companies has not helped matters as it has made complying with relevant EU rules more complex. The scheme should be implemented immediately for farmers and all the money should be for the farmers,” Martin continued.