The Green Party is calling on the Minister for Agriculture to extend a broader range of supports to farm families to help them trade through cash flow issues related to the Covid 19 crisis.
Questioning Minister Creed in the Dáil last week on the matter, Deputy Malcolm Noonan (Carlow Kilkenny) stated that farm businesses should not have been excluded from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Covid 19 SME support fund and that such funds should immediately be made available to the agri-food sector.
Deputy Noonan said: ‘While we welcome the announcement of a 17.5m euro lower cost funding scheme for SMEs, we would ask that the next round of the future growth loan scheme would include a facility for low cost working capital to help farm businesses work through this difficult period.
‘We are also calling on the banks to ensure that they exercise flexibility and forbearance with their farmer customers as they work through this unprecedented crisis’.
Senator Pippa Hackett, Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson said family farm businesses are the fabric that holds rural communities together. ‘They are the biggest employers and generate the most wealth and income as primary producers in rural regions, as well as supporting a wider economy of trades, local shops and suppliers. It is imperative that Government extend a full range of supports to the sector’ said Senator Hackett.
‘Beef profitability is at an all time low and dairy incomes are forecast to be back by 20% this year. We believe it is vital that these sectors are supported to get through this crisis and maintain food security as well as sustaining farm incomes’.
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