The role of the banking sector in the face of water scarcity

The role of the banking sector in the face of water scarcity

The drought affecting Chile since 2010 has led the government to take emergency measures in order to help farmers and ranchers. According to information published by the General Directorate of Water of the Ministry of Public Works of Chile, as of November 2020, 16 water shortage decrees are in force in 79 communes, concentrated in the Valparaíso and Metropolitan regions.

In this scenario, it becomes fundamental to invest in solutions that will allow for efficient water usage. Alejandro Friedli, manager of Large Companies, Products, and Agriculture for Banco de Chile, told FreshFruitPortal.com that water is one of the most sensitive points of the agricultural business and for this reason, the banking institution has concerned itself with creating specialized financing instruments for agriculture. 

He stated that in a drought context Banco de Chile has  “supported investments in storage infrastructure (for example, reservoirs and dams) as well as efficiency improvements for these (with coatings), investments in loss prevention for water conduction, the expansion of technical irrigation surfaces, and the installation of sensors and equipment the improve the efficiency of water use, among other [measures].”

In this regard, Friedli explained that the role of the Banco de Chile is to be a link in the agricultural sector’s productive change, which it sees as “ a fundamental pillar of the economy and the country’s development.” 

From this perspective, he affirmed that the bank trusts the national agri-food industry and its growth capacity, for which the institution has specialized in the creation of adequate financial instruments in a sector where the structure and vision of the short, medium, and long terms are relevant.

To this, he added “We have a human team that is familiar with all the particulars of the business and we maintain active participation in union activities within the sector so that we can stay up to date with the current and future needs of our clients. 

The executive said that historically the Banco de Chile has had a close relationship with agriculture. In fact, the bank came into being after the merger of three financial institutions, one of which was the Banco Agrícola.

“Even though we have always been present in the sector, big changes in the industry have motivated us to rise to the occasion and gain the ability to better advise our clients. In 2017 we reinforced the agricultural area with the aim of providing a closer and more specialized service,” Friedli said.

He commented that the bank also maintains a close relationship with the union and productive sector, to keep up to date with reality as well as present and future needs. 

Agricultural Water Summit - Chile 2021

Collaborative instances where different links of the agricultural industry chain meet are necessary to be able to pull through in times of water adversity.

Companies like Banco de Chile work to promote investment in the industry, providing economic solidity to water projects that help consolidate the future of agribusiness.

Agricultural Water Summit - Chile 2021 will be an event that generates space for conversation, where different figures with the fruit and vegetable sector will be able to meet and work on water problems and challenges.

The conference will be held on April 20, 2021, at the Sun Monticello Hotel Conference Center, located in San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile.