“We need to encourage young farmers in Kilkenny to stay in the business.”
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has welcomed news that farmers in Kilkenny can share in a €1 billion cheap loan scheme for young farmers. The scheme is designed to increase the number of young farmers staying in the business.
MEP Clune said: “There are many issues that young people in farming have to face and finance and access to finance is one of them. This should hopefully go a long way to improving the situation and ensure that the future of agriculture in Ireland is sustainable.
“I know that Macra na Feirme has campaigned for this to encourage young farmers to stay in the business and I commend them for that. We are constantly working at EU level to ensure we do what we can to make sure that the farming community in Ireland is listened to. This new scheme is the largest ever move by the European Investment Bank to help support farming. I believe this scheme will offer rates of about 3%, which is lower than current bank rates.”
The programme will be managed at Member State level by banks and leasing companies operating across the EU. Participating banks should match the amount committed by the EIB, therefore bringing the total amount to a potential €2 billion, and priority should be given to young farmers.
The programme will address many of the current shortcomings that farmers face with:
- Lower interest rates;
- Longer periods of up to 5 years to start repaying the loan;
- Longer periods to pay back the whole loan (up to 15 years);
- Added flexibility, depending on the conditions, to respond to price volatility in the agricultural sector to ensure that farmers remain able to pay loans back in difficult periods (for instance, through a ‘holiday/grace’ period allowing farmers not to pay back for a few months).
Two pilot loans of €275 million are about to be implemented in France through this scheme. These loans are specifically targeted at young farmers and climate change mitigation.