Source: McCain

McCain will give a contribution towards interest payable for assets that support regenerative agriculture

Potato goods giant McCain Foods and banking group NatWest have launched an initiative to reduce financial barrers for potato farmers to transition to sustainable agricultural practices.

NatWest will offer McCain’s potato farmers additional financial support via its asset finance arm Lombard, in what the companies said was a first-of-its-kind initiative in the UK.

Meanwhile, McCain has also committed to offering a contribution towards the interest payable for assets that support regenerative agriculture practices.

McCain explained that more sustainable farming practices often required up-front investments in new equipment and practices from farmers, which could create a barrier to uptake.

McCain has previously committed to implement regenerative agriculture across 100% of its global potato acreage by 2030.

“Given the increasingly unpredictable climate, the shift towards regenerative agriculture practices is vital to futureproof the farming industry, and we want to support McCain potato farmers who are making the transition towards more sustainable operations,” said James Young, VP of agriculture at McCain GB&I.

“We know that switching to regenerative agriculture can come with financial implications, and this new partnership will be a part of the effort to alleviate those barriers.”

Ian Burrow, head of agriculture, NatWest added: “NatWest and Lombard are thrilled to be working with McCain to help their farmers invest in sustainable farming practices. Agriculture is a sector of paramount importance to the UK economy, and one which is at a turning point, facing higher costs, inflation and the daunting challenge of net zero.”

As part of its wider regenerative agriculture initiatives, McCain joined the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Agribusiness Task Force alongside a number of businesses and NGOs, including NatWest, to accelerate the scaling of greener practices in the farming industry worldwide, which have been hampered by high costs. 

McCain has invested £50m since 2020 in the UK to ensure the long-term viability of potato growing, including the launch of the £25m McCain Potato Farmer Pledge.

In addition to the partnership with NatWest, McCain is continuing to support farmers in the face of rising inflation by committing to a 31% contract indexation in 2023, which equals a £35m investment.

The potato giant is also testing regenerative agriculture practices and trialing new technology at its ‘farms of the future’ projects, located in McCain’s hometown of Florenceville, New Brunswick in Canada, and in South Africa.