Renewable energies stimulate agricultural investments

Cecile Julien

Terrestrial average

Numerous projects on anaerobic digestion and photovoltaics contributed to the relaunch of banking activities in 2021. Inflation and uncertainties on production costs make Crédit Agricole cautious on the level of activity for the second half of 2022 and 2023.

Renewable energy projects drove investments in 2021. (© Pixabay)

P.o Crédit Agricole, 2021, the year of recovery after the health crisis, will have been an excellent year with 8.2 billion loans granted to farmers, up 7.8% compared to 2020. This renewed investment is driven by projects for renewable energy, with loan applications up 78% in anaerobic digestion and 62% in photovoltaic.

2022, a complex year

2022 started with the same trend, with + 8% first-half successes. Since then, the Russian-Ukrainian war has disrupted growth forecasts. The surge in the price of energy and raw materials marked the return of inflation. “2022 will be a complex year. If the prices of our productions have benefited from an increase, this also applies to our supplies, which complicates the agricultural situation, shares Jean-Paul Kerrien, president of Crédit Agricole Bretagne, during the presentation of the results. on the occasion of Spazio. To pass on our increases in production costs and improve the distribution of added value in the sector, commercial negotiations are an important and very complicated topic ”.

Efforts for food sovereignty, however, appear to be paying off. “Food prices have risen but less than in our neighbors, notes Jean-Christophe Roubin, director of the agricultural market at Crédit Agricole SA. While in France overall inflation is 6%, it is 7% if we look only at food products. In Germany, inflation is 7% and 14% for food. In the UK, where food prices were already high, inflation could reach 18-20% “

Little visibility in 2023

The outlook for 2023 is confusing. If prices remain high, this will help offset higher inputs. ” Otherwise, we risk the scissors effect. It remains to be seen what capacity the French will have to pay more for French origin “, asks Jean-Christophe Roubin. Already the signs indicate sectors in difficulty : decapitalization of cattle farms, drop in organic consumption, drop in poultry production following episodes of avian flu. “Many will be added to these uncertainties retirements in 2023 with a lack of buyers ”, notes Michèle Guibert, General Secretary of Crédit Agricole Bretagne.

Towards better coverage of climate risks

With its dual role as banker and insurer, Crédit Agricole has been a player in the climate insurance reform, which will come into effect on January 1, 2023. The green bank sees favorably that the vagaries of the weather, with significant economic impacts, are better covered. “The crop insurance in this new version will allow better damage coverage for insured farmers, appreciates Michèle Guibert. This could reach up to 90% of the losses through the joint action of the insurers and the National Solidarity Fund, with a national budget that could rise to 680 million euros ”.

Based on the example of a medium-sized Breton farm, with a milk production of 530,000 liters, 67 ha of SFP and 19 ha of cereals, Crédit Agricole foresees net contributions, net of 70% support from the State of € 26 per hectare of cereals and forage maize and € 13 per hectare of pasture.

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