Bank of Ireland today, announced a €200m Agri Farm Investment Fund dedicated to supporting the financial needs of the agricultural sector. The fund, which is open to new and existing customers, is available to those who are involved in agri related SME businesses, ranging from farmers to food related businesses. It is designed to finance new investment requirements to support the growth objectives as set out in the Food Harvest 2020 Report.
The new fund, announced to coincide with the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) conference: “A Flavour of the Future – Challenges for Irish Agri-food in the Global Marketplace, is available for investment in a wide variety of purposes including the purchase of machinery and land, upgrading housing and other facilities, the construction of farming buildings and for purchasing stock.
In the first five months of this year, Bank of Ireland Business Banking received almost 7,000 applications for credit totalling just over €200m from those operating in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry and fishing. 85% of all applications received were approved. Bank of Ireland Business Banking currently lends over €1bn to the sector in Ireland.
Speaking at the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) conference: “A Flavour of the Future – Challenges for Irish Agri-food in the Global Marketplace”, Mark Cunningham, Managing Director, Bank of Ireland Business Banking said: “Agriculture remains a key sector for the Bank and indeed the recovery of the Irish economy. In recent months we have seen a general increase in the amount of credit approved for those operating in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry and fishing when compared to the same period last year. This is as a result of a number of factors including an increase in land transactions particularly in the dairy sector as well as a higher level of applications coming through from agri-food business owners looking to expand. We are committed to ensuring that the appropriate funding is in place, to support all viable farming enterprises so they can participate and avail of such growth opportunities”.
Also commenting on the launch of the fund, James Kane, National Farm Business Chairman with the Irish Farmers’ Association said, “Access to credit at a competitive rate is vital for the agriculture sector, and I welcome this initiative from Bank of Ireland. Agriculture has a key role to play in Ireland’s economic recovery, but farms require regular reinvestment to improve efficiency and competitiveness. Support from the banking sector is critical if agriculture is to fully realise its growth potential and achieve the targets of Food Harvest 2020”.
Customers who wish to avail of the fund can contact their local branch for details.