Sustainability grows in the countryside
They influence the economic prosperity of a society, are respectful of the environment, fulfill the standards of animal welfare and ethics, guarantee worthy working conditions and contribute to consumer health. They are the so-called sustainable products. They come from a primary sector that uses new increasingly sustainable methods of production to aid in the common good of the planet.
Every minute 23 hectares of agricultural land is lost, 12 million hectares every year, because of desertification and dryness. Meanwhile, 52% of the utilized land is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation. The data of the UN warn us and show the urgent need of launching measures to put an end to these problems.
In fact, we don’t always give importance to the primary sector as it deserves. The activities of this sector are needed and indispensable for the survival of the population. Indeed, 2,600 million of people around the world directly depend on agriculture with 500 million small farms supplying up to 80% of the food consumed in most of the developing world. The sector is the biggest employer of the world, giving 40% of the worldwide population a livelihood. In short, this is a key sector for the prosperity of the society.
Sustainable solutions to achieve zero hunger
The food industry and agriculture offer key solutions for development and are vital for ending hunger and poverty. That’s why experts state that, if we properly manage them, agriculture, forestry and aquaculture can provide nutritive food to all the planet as well as generate decent income, support development focused on farmers and protect the environment.
For this reason, boosting new more sustainable ways to carry out agriculture and livestock is essential to achieving this goal. Hence, tools and initiatives of governments, communities or private companies come into play. This is the case of Banco Santander.
Support and financing to boost an increasingly more sustainable primary sector
We live in a country where the primary sector,which is made up of agriculture, livestock, apiculture, aquaculture, fishing, mining, silviculture and forest exploitation, represents 10% of the GDP and exports annually products of a value around 50,000 million euros. These figures published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, refer to the full nation. Concerning the communities, Andalusia, the two Castillas, Cantabria, Murcia or Galicia quintuple the national percentage, being the real engine of growth and prosperity for millions of Spanish people.
Banco Santander definitely invests in financial solutions that support environmental protection, including the support of sustainable agriculture and livestock. In Spain, the entity counts on 335,000 customers of the tertiary sector and just in the past year granted 4,354 million euros in credits and loans to the sector.
Rami Abukhair, CEO of the entity in Spain, verifies the commitment of the company: “The bank absolutely throws itself into supporting the food sector with a network of more than 900 specialized branches and the best professionals at the service of Spanish farmers”.
As a consequence of this firm support of the sector, the bank signed an agreement in May with Spanish Agri-food Cooperatives, thanks to which its 3,740 agri-food cooperatives can take advantage of the more than 900 branches of the bank specialized in the agri-food sector.
But this support is not only limited to Spain. In Portugal for example, Santander Totta goes on financing agri-food companies and industries through the plan Soluçao Agricultura, with a support to the sector of 6.2 million. Meanwhile, in Brazil, the entity presided over by Ana Botín, finances both companies and individuals to development environment and energy efficiency projects in the agricultural sector. In 2015, 32 million euros were invested to finance 132 operations.
Also, Santander was the first bank launching an app called AGRO with full information to cover the specific needs of farmers, and an access to the catalogue of custom-designed products and services for the sector. Among them, Campañas del vino y del olivar (down payment of the harvest, financing of agro-insurance…); Agro-Fácil aimed at financing the purchase of supply (seeds, animal food, plant-protection products, machinery…); Crédito Agro XXI, to face the expenses of the agricultural holding with two free associated credit cards; Seguros agrarios, with flexible coverage to face different risks; or BEI Agro, the credit line offered by the European Bank of Investment. The entity is also pioneer in advancing the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) through digital channels. In 2018, AGRO was chosen as the best agricultural farm in the Spanish financial sector.