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“Deferred payment”, loan at “preferential rate”… How the government wants to support farmers’ cash flow

During his visit last Saturday to the Agricultural Show, Emmanuel Macron announced two additional measures to support farmers: the establishment of "floor prices", supposed to ensure a better income for producers, and an emergency plan for cash flow of more fragile farms.

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“Deferred payment”, loan at “preferential rate”… How the government wants to support farmers’ cash flow

During his visit last Saturday to the Agricultural Show, Emmanuel Macron announced two additional measures to support farmers: the establishment of "floor prices", supposed to ensure a better income for producers, and an emergency plan for cash flow of more fragile farms. On this second point, the government did not intend to waste time: ministers Bruno Le Maire (Economy), Marc Fesneau (Agriculture) and Olivia Grégoire (Business) brought together representatives of French banks this Tuesday in Bercy to move forward on this subject.

At the end of the meeting, Bruno Le Maire first recalled during a press briefing that “a detailed census of farms in financial difficulties” would be launched “in the coming hours”. This mission was entrusted to the departmental advisors of each territory, specified the Minister of Economy and Finance. “It’s about making a census of farms in difficulty across the country. This census has started,” Gabriel Attal said earlier this Tuesday on RTL.

Once these agricultural operations have been identified, they will be able to have access to two new banking aid schemes. On the one hand the possibility of “having a one-year deferred payment of their bank debt”, and on the other hand “a three-year rescheduling of this bank debt”, detailed the tenant of Bercy to the press . This rescheduling over three years can be done “after a one-year franchise”, and “concerns current loans”, specified Nicolas Namias, president of the French Banking Federation (FBF). To this will be added, for farmers needing more cash, the possibility of taking out “a loan at a preferential rate, which would be between 0 and 2.5% depending on the situation of the farms”, added Bruno Le Mayor.

Finally, farmers will be able to access the state-guaranteed loan, provided for in the 2024 finance bill and amounting to 2 billion euros, earlier than expected. While it was to be available during the month of July 2024, it will finally be available from May 1, announced the number two in the government. This loan will be open to “all farms which need it”, “which need to adapt, to buy agricultural equipment, to invest, to green their farm”, explained Bruno Le Maire.

The government therefore won its case, which hoped that the banks would agree to put in their pockets to help farmers, in the context of discontent in the sector. “I thank the French banks who played the game,” insisted Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday. “I hope that the banks will play the game more, that they will formulate proposals in terms of opening credits and interest rates for all French farmers. Today, we are not there,” Bruno Le Maire said on Monday in Les Échos, putting pressure on banking establishments.

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A call of the foot reformulated by Gabriel Attal Tuesday morning on the sidelines of the Agricultural Show. “We want to mobilize all the stakeholders. We pushed the banks a lot to mobilize them and for some we didn't have to push them much because they are already engaged with our farmers. Crédit Mutuel and Crédit Agricole have already announced zero-rate or 2% loans to support our farmers.” The Prime Minister also recalled that emergency cash aid had already been paid to certain farmers, for a total of “10 million euros”.

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