Small and medium sized businesses here, as well as farmers, can now apply for loans under the Government’s Future Loan Scheme.

The initiative aims to support strategic long-term investment in the post-Brexit environment where financing options may be restricted.

Money borrowed can be use for a variety of reasons, including investing in assets to increase productivity, setting up new offices, investing in product diversification and investment in the processing and marketing of agricultural products.

In total €300 million is being made available for lending and applications are being accepted from today by the state’s Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

A minimum of 40% of the fund will go to agri-food businesses and suppliers.

Borrowers from the fund will be able to access loans of up to €3 million, with a maximum interest rate of 4.5% on loans up to €250,000 and 3.5% on sums above this level.

No collateral is needed for loans under €500,000 and businesses with up to 249 employees can apply.

AIB, Bank of Ireland and KBC will participate in the scheme, with applications for eligibility going through the SBCI.

The other two main retail banks – Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank – are said to be considering joining the initiative.

"I’m very pleased at the level of interest we have received from finance providers. It is likely that we will have five banks offering the Scheme – which means more choice for Irish businesses," said Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys.

The European Investment Bank and the European Commission are partners in the scheme.