UFU welcomes NI Executive’s Agri- Food Loan Scheme

Thursday, 8 August, 2013

Ulster Farmers’ Union President Harry Sinclair has welcomed the launch of the Northern Ireland Executive’s Agri-Food Loan Scheme saying it will provide the help needed to access finance for farmers looking to invest in their businesses and expand production. £10million pounds has been allocated to facilitate the first phase of the scheme with the Northern Ireland Executive agreeing to commit further funding for this scheme, which is expected to operate for the next two years, should there be significant demand. 

Harry Sinclair said; “This Agri-Food Loan Scheme is sending a very clear message from the Northern Ireland Executive that they are committed to making a real and tangible investment in the Agri-Food industry. It has been a tough couple of years for farmers and this scheme presents a much needed opportunity for farmers to invest in their businesses, enabling them to take advantage of the opportunities for growth that exist.  The difficulty for farmers to access finance was one of the issues highlighted within the Agri-Food Strategy Board ‘Going for Growth’ report and I am pleased to see Government stepping up to the mark and working with industry to provide the support local farmers’ need to expand their businesses.

“The first phase of the scheme, which is intended to help develop integrated supply chains to increase the supply of primary produce for processing,  will initially be opened to broiler producers in Northern Ireland next month with subsequent phases of the scheme being rolled out to the other Agri-Food sectors over the coming months.  What is important now is that the scheme is extended as quickly as possible and is made available to all sectors. We also acknowledge the efforts that have been made to keep the application process for the scheme as straightforward as possible.”