Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Customers boosted by doubling of agri fund

Geoffrey Stewart (left) who farms a dairy herd at Magherafelt and has benefitted from the fund; his son Luke; Ciaran McGivern, Head of Business Banking Northern Ireland, Bank of ireland UK; and William Thompson, Agri manager Northern Ireland, Bank of Ireland UK.
Geoffrey Stewart (left) who farms a dairy herd at Magherafelt and has benefitted from the fund; his son Luke; Ciaran McGivern, Head of Business Banking Northern Ireland, Bank of ireland UK; and William Thompson, Agri manager Northern Ireland, Bank of Ireland UK.

Bank of Ireland UK has pledged to double its Agri Business Fund to £100m following the launch of a plan aiming to boost the food and drink industry's turnover to £7bn by 2020.

The fund, open to both new and existing customers, is available to those who are involved in agri-food supply chain, ranging from primary producers, processors, retailers and other agri-food related businesses.

Two weeks ago the Agri-Food Strategy Boards said it hoped to see the industry's turnover growing 60% with employment rising to 115,000.

The initial £50m agri-fund that was announced 18 months ago, aimed at business expansion, diversification projects and working capital needs.

Bank of Ireland UK has also announced a donation of £15,000 to Rural Support, the charity that supports farmers and rural families facing a range of difficulties, including those brought about by the severe weather conditions.

Ciaran McGivern, head of business banking Northern Ireland with Bank of Ireland UK , said the agri-food sector is a major economic driver which contributes substantially to every area of Northern Ireland.

"Bank of Ireland UK is determined to play its part in supporting the growth of a sector which holds so much potential and we are delighted to make these funds available for investment at all levels of the agri-food supply chain," he said.

William Thompson, agri manager for Bank of Ireland UK, added: "Over the course of the agri-show season, Bank of Ireland UK staff will be on the ground across Northern Ireland to talk to producers and processors about the opportunities for growing the sector."