Bank of Ireland’s head of agri-business  Gerry Prizeman has told AgriLand at this afternoon that his organisation remains totally committed to the farming sector, which he regards as a key growth area within the Irish economy.

Speaking at today’s National Ploughing Championships, he added: “The figures speak for themselves. During the first six months of 2013 Bank of Ireland accounted for 50 per cent of the total credit made available to the agri-business sectors. And the vast bulk of this money went to primary producers.”

He continued: “Our commitment to agriculture is further reflected in the appointment of three new development managers for Munster and Leinster. All are agri-science graduates and can combine this proven ability with a strong banking background.

“There are significant growth opportunities for the farming sectors, which should unfold during the period ahead.

“A growing world population will increase the demand for food. And Ireland is well placed to avail of these market-led developments. But I don’t totally buy in to the idea that Asia will buy all of the extra food that countries such as Ireland are capable of producing over the coming years.

“Irish farmers must take a strategic approach in terms of they set up their businesses for the future.”

Where dairy is concerned, Prizeman agreed that Irish milk producers can look to the future with a significant degree of confidence.

“But, again, it’s a case of farmers working through all the options and having a clear grasp of their costs as they build for the future.”

He concluded: “Bank of Ireland is totally committed to Irish agriculture. We view agri-food as a growth sector and expect our commitment to the industry to grow in line with the envisaged expansion that will take place over the coming years.”

Image Shutterstock