AIB is to launch its second €500m loan fund to support the development of Ireland’s agri-sector throughout the country.

The bank’s previous fund of €500m, launched in April 2014 and has seen more than 90% drawn-down by farming customers for use as working capital, capital expenditure and asset finance requirements.

According to AIB, the latest fund is supported by discounted SBCI (Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland) funding for eligible projects.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, welcomed the announcement, saying that the confirmation that AIB is introducing a subsequent fund on this scale will help to support and grow all sectors of the farming industry.

“The fact that the first fund has seen such a high level of drawdown is indicative of the appetite for capital in the farming community and the necessity for ongoing banking support,” the Minister said.

AIB’s Managing Director of Retail, Corporate and Business Banking, Robert Mulhall said the launch of this additional fund demonstrates AIB’s continued support to what is a vital part of the Irish economy and a key sector for the bank’s activity.

We are very conscious that 2015 has been a mixed year for farming with volatility a constant feature of the agri-business generally.

“With the consistent decline in milk prices and another low year of margins in the pig sector, we know that farmers may be experiencing cash flow pressure into the spring of next year.

“We urge farmers to come to AIB where they will receive advice and support,” Mulhall said.