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Liquidity and Access to Finance supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses, including farmers and fishers

Liquidity

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD recently met with the main banks and the Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Michael Creed TD, has engaged with them on the specific liquidity and financing needs of farmers, fishers and agri-food businesses. They have stressed the need for the banks to support and work with their customers through this challenging period. All the banks have announced that they will offer flexibility to their customers, and that they may be able to provide payment holidays or emergency working capital facilities. The advice is that farmers, fishers and food businesses should engage with their bank at an early stage to discuss emerging cashflow issues.  DAFM continues to engage with the banks and the Department of Finance.

Access to Finance supports

Current eligibility for access to finance (liquidity) supports

Support

Agri-food businesses

Primary Production

SBCI Covid19 Working Capital Scheme

Yes

No

Credit Guarantee Scheme

Yes

No

Microfinance Ireland*

Yes

Yes

*The MicrofInance maximum loan amount has been increased to €50,000 for businesses impacted by COVID-19; see below for more details.

DAFM is engaged with DBEI and D/Finance on further liquidity and access to finance measures for impacted businesses, and, as announced, will part-fund the expansion of: 

  • The €250million Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme – open to SMEs and mid-caps (i.e. up to 500 employees); an additional €200m added to €50m in funding reallocated from the Brexit Loan Scheme; 40% (€100m) of which is ring-fenced for food businesses and other agri-food businesses outside the farm gate (due to technical considerations arising from the InnovFin guarantee, the Scheme is not available to primary producers).
  • The €200million second tranche of the Future Growth Loan Scheme for capital investment, 40% (€80million) ring-fenced for farmers, fishers and agri-food SMEs.

Minister Creed commented, “The expansion of the COVID-19 Scheme, co-funded by my Department, will provide additional working capital support for SMEs in the agri-food sector. Considering the requirement at this time to keep homes here and abroad stocked with high-quality, nutritious food, this assistance is significant. The expansion of the Future Growth Loan Scheme long-term investment support for primary producers and food businesses, which is also co-funded by my Department, is also welcome. I continue to liaise with the banks on liquidity for the primary sector and also want to highlight the availability of working capital assistance to farmers and fishers through Microfinance Ireland’s COVID-19 Business Loan. In times like these we realise the importance of those who produce, process, package and distribute our food and we will continue to keep the finance needs of the whole agri-food sector under review”.

The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland

The Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 Business Loan is a government initiative to support micro-enterprises, through the current period of uncertainty, who are or may be impacted by the coronavirus in Ireland.

Who is it for?

Micro-enterprises (including sole traders, partnerships or limited companies) employing less than 10 people and with a turnover of less than €2 million per annum, who are finding it difficult to access finance through banks and other commercial lenders and experiencing a negative impact on their business from COVID-19 that equates to a minimum of 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit in the business. Farmers and fishers are eligible.

Key Features

  • Business Loans between €5,000 and €50,000 for eligible micro-enterprises
  • Loans may be used for working capital and required business changes as a result of COVID-19
  • Loan terms up to 3 years (shorter if appropriate)
  • The terms include a six months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period.
  • Interest rate of 4.5% if an application is submitted through a Local Enterprise Office. 5.5% if submitted directly to Microfinance Ireland
  • No fees and/or hidden costs with fixed repayments and with no penalty for early repayment
  • No security required.