A loan scheme to support Scottish farmers and crofters through the coronavirus crisis has been announced by the government.
The National Basic Payment Support Scheme aims to maintain cash flow for farm and croft businesses by injecting up to £340m into the rural economy.
The scheme will give farmers and crofters access to financial support up to three months earlier than the EU CAP payment period.
Scottish government's rural economy secretary, Fergus Ewing said the 'main priority' was ensuring that farmers received payments during the transition period.
“These farmers will only be feeling additional anxiety, so it is essential that they have the cash flow they need to continue operating," he said.
“While we had considered using the Advanced Payment option to process CAP basic payments earlier than in previous years, Covid-19 made us reconsider whether this could deliver as much support as quickly as a loan scheme."
Mr Ewing added: “I would encourage anyone who would like to accept their loan offer to do so by email where they can, to allow us to process these important payments as quickly as possible.”
The loan scheme provides Scottish farmers and crofters access of up to 95% of their 2020 CAP BPS and Greening payment, restricted to the scheme maximum of £133,638.
Loan offer letters will be sent to eligible farmers and crofters from the beginning of August, with the first payments due in September.