The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary T.D., has outlined the main elements of the July Stimulus which will benefit the agri-food and marine sector.
Minister Calleary said, “It is crucial that we address the financial needs of all businesses, including those in the agri-food sector, farmers, fishers and food businesses; they will need support both for working capital and longer-term investment. I welcome the inclusion of farmers and fishers in the new €2 billion Credit Guarantee Scheme and confirmation of the further expansion of €500 million of the Future Growth Loan Scheme. Coupled with the range of other supports announced in the July Stimulus, it is a comprehensive package of measures”.
This is in addition to the range of specific supports already put in place for the sector as part of the Government’s economic response to Covid challenges:
· An allocation of €50 million in Exchequer funding has been provided for the beef sector for a support scheme for beef finishing farms which have been severely impacted – the details of which will be announced shortly.
· Following a campaign by Member States, spear-headed by Ireland, the European Commission introduced a scheme of aids to private storage under the CAP, which has been of benefit for the dairy sector in particular.
· A Covid-19 voluntary Temporary Fleet Tie-up Scheme for fishing vessels is being implemented.
· Various practical flexibilities for applications for the main farm schemes have been introduced.
Minister Calleary stated: “Like many businesses, our farmers, fishers and food companies have played a vital role during the pandemic. The agri-food and marine sector proved its resilience through the crisis, continuing farming and food processing activities, keeping supply chains moving, and ensuring that Irish food and drink products remained on Irish, European and international supermarket shelves throughout. Later this year, to coincide with the Budget in October, the Government will set out a National Economic Plan. I will ensure that my Department and its agencies, in consultation with stakeholders, will continue to monitor the impacts on the agri-food sector as the situation evolves, and to provide appropriate supports to the sector”.