Fertilizer loan program with Cultivate will start on January 31


Cultivate chairman and former chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Joe Healy, has confirmed that the organisation’s ‘fertiliser loan’ scheme is due to start on Monday 31 January 2022.

Cultivate is an initiative of a group of credit unions that offers short and medium term loan opportunities designed specifically around the growing needs of farmer members.

Joe Healy said Agriland“We discussed the program with a total of 40 credit unions, representing 120 outlets across the country.

“The loans will be made available at an interest rate of 6.5%; there will be no registration fee.

“All loans will be granted on a fast, simple and local basis. Interest will only be paid on outstanding amounts,” Healy added.

Fertilizer Loan System

According to the chairman, fertilizer sales in Ireland last year amounted to €500 million.

“This year, we could envisage a figure of the order of 1.2 billion euros. Last year, I personally bought urea at the price of 320 €/t. Earlier this week I bought the same product at €900/t,” Healy explained.

“Fertilizer is one of the most expensive inputs incurred on Irish farms. Cultivate was approached by fertilizer dealers across the country, highlighting the expense they incurred in sourcing fertilizer in the first place.

“As a result, many of these companies will not be able to extend normal credit terms to farmer-customers this year. It is for this reason that Cultivate has recognized the need to develop a credit union-based response to the fertilizer challenge currently facing Irish agriculture,” he added.

Asked about the possibility for farmers to go to their bank and request an overdraft extension, Healy replied:

“Many farmers now believe that banks no longer provide a service that fully recognizes the needs of family businesses.”

Government support

Meanwhile, low-cost loans will continue to be available to Irish small and medium-sized businesses under the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) until June 30, 2022.

The government’s decision was confirmed by Tánaiste and Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar.

The program is available from a wide range of lenders, including three banks, six non-bank finance providers and 19 credit unions.

Unsecured loans up to €250,000, at reduced interest rates are available for SMEs, primary producers and small ETIs (companies employing less than 500 people).

To date, the scheme has approved loans to over 9,000 businesses. The government said it was the fastest rollout of such a level of business lending in state history, with the program operational since September 2020.

According to the government, the continuation of the program will provide options for small businesses that need increased liquidity as they move into a changed but more stable business environment.

The Tánaiste 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 enterprises 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 program.

“Extending this program will give businesses a level of certainty that if they need cash, they will be able to access low-cost, unsecured loans of up to €250,000.”


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