AIB has unveiled a three-tiered €250m investment fund focused on Ireland’s rapidly expanding agri-food sector.
The bank said its Agri Investment Programme was available to help all existing or potential customers in this sector to plan for their future business needs. The initiative is an element of AIB’s Big Drive for Small Business, which sees the bank increasing engagement with businesses throughout Ireland.
Welcoming the initiative, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said: “Initiatives such as the AIB Agri-Fund must be welcomed in its obvious capacity to ensure greater access to adequate funding for viable farm enterprise propositions. This applies not only to the dairy sector as it gears up towards a post quota context but to other sectors also.”
Commenting on the launch of the AIB fund, Tom Doyle, national farm business chairman with the Irish Farmers’ Association, said: “Farms require regular re-investment to improve efficiency and competitiveness, and support from the banking sector is critical if agriculture is to fully realise its growth potential and achieve the targets of Food Harvest 2020.”
The AIB programme has three elements: €100m for on-farm capital investment; €100m for working capital; and €50m for asset finance.
The bank said the €100m on-farm capital investment component would be priced competitively at 4.40% per annum, variable. This will be available to farmers who required funding to facilitate farm expansion or upgrading initiatives.
The €100m working capital component was designed to assist the management of seasonal funding requirements — eg purchase of seed, feed and fertiliser.
AIB said the €50m asset finance component was a dedicated fund which could be used for hire purchase, equipment lease and farm vehicle lease.
AIB chief executive David Duffy said: “Today’s announcement represents a major boost for Irish farming and demonstrates AIB’s commitment to assisting the agri-sector develop its enormous potential.”
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