A hard crash-out by the UK will have a devastating impact on Irish farmers so farmers need the necessary support from Government to cover these losses, IFA farm business chair Rose Mary McDonagh has said.

The IFA called on the Government to seek an extension to the EU Temporary Aid Framework to enable the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) to be extended beyond the end of the year, acting as safety net for farmers.

McDonagh said: “The CCGS must be expanded and extended into next year to support farmers. The effects of the pandemic show no sign of letting up and the risk of a no-deal Brexit looks increasingly likely."

Expanded scheme

The CCGS is a €2bn fund overseen by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, which benefits from an 80% guarantee by the State.

The fund is available for low-cost lending to small businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19. Currently, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank are participating in the scheme.

McDonagh continued: “The scheme must be extended to help farmers better cope with current financial strains. The purpose of the loan scheme must also be expanded to include losses from the likely economic fallout of Brexit next year.

“It is well worth speaking to your local bank to determine if you are eligible. The money can be drawn down very quickly and repayments can be spaced out over a period of up to five and a half years.”

Interest rates vary from bank to bank and are attractive across the lenders participating in the scheme. The scheme is scheduled to close at the end of 2020.

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