The FFP or the Fisheries Finance Program is a loan program funded by the government. The Congress has authorized the Fisheries Finance Program to provide long-term goals that are particularly meant for promotion of aquaculture, mariculture, commercial fisheries industries and other eligible projects. Eligible projects include aquaculture and mariculture facilities as well as fisheries shore side facilities. The FFP funds up to 80% of the depreciate cost of the cost of the project. The applicant must necessarily contribute at least 20% of equity to the eligible project at hand.
The FFP is also authorized to finance and refinance prevailing debts for such eligible projects. Additionally, it can also provide finance to applicants to buy or even refinance an already existing fishing vessel. Besides this, it can also finance reconstruction of an existing fishing vessel, provided the reconstruction does not in any way promote the harvesting capacity. However, the FFP cannot fund construction of a new fishing vessel, although it can provide funds to refinance an existing debt on a newly built fishing vessel.
Eligibility Criteria of a Fisheries Finance Program
The FSA (Farm Service Agency) not only provides farm ownership loans to farmers and ranchers, but also funds loans to provide facilities and resources to produce fish in controlled surroundings. An applicant must compulsorily qualify the following, in order to secure a loan under this program:
He must be a US citizen.
Have a satisfactory credit record.
Have ample income to repay his debt.
The net worth and liquidity invested in the eligible project also must be good.
The project must have a collateral security like the personal assets of the borrower.
No recourse against the borrower\’s asset.
He must have a history of owning or managing a fisheries project for a minimum of 3 years.
In other words, an applicant must have the necessary expertise, skills, financial resources, knowledge required to efficiently run the project and repay the debt. These could include the likes of commercial fishermen, processors and distributors of fishery products. An applicant may need to show his financial statement, records and tax returns, in order to establish his financial position.
Terms and Conditions
A loan under the Fisheries Finance Program is granted for a long term. It is a fixed rate loan with interest rates of 2% over the US Treasury cost of funds. The maturity of the loan is up to 25 years. However, it should not surpass the economic useful life of the legible project. It aims to provide direct loan assistance, in order to cover up particular fisheries costs. These direct loans are meant to be used for the purpose of reconstruction or renovation of the fishing vessel, repair and construction of fisheries shore side facilities.
Although the risks associated with the program run high, the primary advantage is a low rate of interest and finance for a long duration of time, which is not generally otherwise available. This consequently makes for, lower annual debt service demand on variable and many a times, good flow of fisheries income also. For further information, you can get in touch with your regional financial services branch to discuss the proposal. If the project satisfies the requirements of the program, an application form has to be submitted along with a fee equal to half of 1% of the proposed amount of loan.