The IFA is calling on banks to introduce a raft of measures to help farmers deal with the economic impact of COVID-19.

The organisation's president Tim Cullinan said it simply wasn’t enough for banks to extend overdraft facilities “when rates are as high as 8%”.

He was critical of the banks and said that farmers and agribusinesses are facing significant short-term challenges in the coming weeks.

Difficult period

“It’s critical that banks inject additional cash at low rates into the system to maintain liquidity. The banks must provide farm families with the leeway to get through this extremely difficult period,” Cullinan said.

Banks have already announced that customers, including farmers, can avail of mortgage breaks and other facilities.

However, IFA farm business chair Rosemary McDonagh proposed a number of measures that include:

  • Increasing or extending working capital and overdraft facilities.
  • Options for farmers to switch from overdraft to cheaper term loans where appropriate.
  • Development of a suite of lower cost loan products for farmers.
  • Allowance for interest and capital repayment breaks of up to six months, with a review closer to the expiry date.
  • Deferring and extending loan repayment periods.
  • Renewing existing stocking loans and provision for additional loans.
  • A 3-month interest and capital repayment break on mortgage repayments.
  • Suspension of the need for land valuation reports.
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