Banco Santander has taken another step in its commitment to farmers and ranchers. The financial institution signed an agreement with Dcoop on June 3 and, from now on, the 75,000 members of this European cooperative will have access to the more than 1,000 agricultural offices that the Cantabrian bank has to cover the needs of the sector. The group has accompanied this group for a long time. In 2021 alone, it injected 3.7 billion euros in financing, 3% more than the previous year.
The organization’s farmers and ranchers will have a wide range of products, among which the Harvest Advances, the Agro R&D&I Loan or long-term loans for the transformation of farms to more profitable crops stand out. The signing of the agreement has been signed by the director of Companies and Institutions of Santander Spain, Antonio Román, the director of the Territorial of Santander in Andalusia, Manuel de la Cruz, and the president of DCOOP, Antonio Luque. Román highlighted Banco Santander’s total commitment to the sector, which he supported in 2021 in a very special way through campaigns aimed at the wine, cereal, citrus and olive grove sectors.
The entity chaired by Ana Botín has been supporting the agricultural sector for decades. During the last crisis, in which its importance as an essential pillar of Spanish society was made clear, it reinforced support measures for farmers, ranchers, producers, cooperatives or supply companies. One of the initiatives is the Agro Smart Fund, endowed with 500 million euros, and which represents a new strategic financing channel for companies in the sector that want to expand their investments and undertake new projects for growth, transformation of farms, digitization and creation of job. The fund covers projects with a wide range of fund destinations: transformation of farms towards more profitable crops (olive, citrus, almond, pistachio, avocado), R&D&i, tangible and intangible assets, expansion of existing units,
In addition, last year, coinciding with the pandemic and the provision of liquidity by companies, Banco Santander supported this sector through ICO-backed loans for an amount of nearly 4,000 million euros.
The bank, which has more than 415,000 farming and ranching clients, has developed different services to accompany the sector on its path towards digitization and sustainability. Among them, the Agricultural Machinery Renewal Plan. In Spain, 55% of the machinery is over 18 years old. With the new precision vehicles, farmers can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25% and generate cost savings on farm inputs.
It has also carried out campaigns such as the olive grove and the harvest, and has promoted the PAC 2022, in which the sector has pre-granted an advance whose processing is completely free. Those customers who advance the CAP for an amount equal to or greater than 2,500 euros receive a subscription to the Digital Field Notebook, a tool that the entity has promoted among its customers to record all the information on their farms, use of phytosanitary products, type of seeds , head of cattle or agricultural machinery with the purpose of achieving a more sustainable and digital agriculture. In addition, Santander has been a pioneer in launching a specific app for the agri-food sector, compatible with any smartphone (Android and iPhone), which offers complete information to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers: current news from the agricultural world, prices of the main fish markets and markets, subsidies,
To channel and streamline all these aids, the entity has begun to remodel some of its offices located in empty Spain with the incorporation of a specific corner for farmers and ranchers. Santander has a total of 1,000 specialists in the sector spread over its 1,100 agricultural offices.
Finally, it has launched The Call Agro, an open innovation proposal that seeks to attract startups with innovative solutions. The challenges are the transition to more profitable products, the professionalization of crops, the optimization of the use of fertilizers, phytosanitary products and water, and solutions for the cultivation, distribution and generation of demand for organic products.
Agriculture contributes a gross value of more than 100,000 million euros to the GDP of Spain, 11%, and is responsible for almost 3,000 million direct and indirect jobs, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics.