Low-cost loans will continue to be available to Irish farmers under the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) until 30 June 2022, according to Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar.
Unsecured loans of up to €250,000 at reduced interest rates are available to SMEs, primary producers and companies employing fewer than 500. These include farm enterprises.
The scheme, available since September 2020, was designed to insulate businesses from the economic impact of the pandemic and its continuation for a further six months will provide options for farmers who need increased liquidity as they move toward a changed but more stable trading environment.
The scheme is available through a wide range of lenders, including three banks, six non-bank finance providers and 19 credit unions.
These unsecured loans will continue to be made available to agricultural primary producers.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme is the largest State guarantee in the history of the State.
“It has been a very useful option for over 9,000 small- and medium-sized businesses and primary producers since its launch in September 2020 and we estimate that over 63,000 jobs have been maintained which would otherwise have been at risk without the scheme.”
According to Varadkar, the scheme extension has been made possible by an extension of the European Commission’s state aid temporary framework, which allows exceptional aid for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
In order to qualify for the scheme, the borrowing farm business will have to demonstrate an impact of a minimum of 15% to its actual or projected business profit due to the impact of the pandemic.