McCain and BNP Paribas Unite in Support of Regenerative Agriculture

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McCain Foods has joined forces with BNP Paribas Bank Polska to launch a regenerative agriculture program in Poland, built on a transition package to support the sustainability efforts of potato growers the will include technical, commercial and financial backing. Active in the Polish market since 1993, the frozen french fry specialist opened a factory in Strzelin, near Wrocław, in 1999. This is one of the company’s most modern investments in Europe.

Potato farmers are facing increasing challenges that include variable and unpredictable weather, rising input costs, and regulatory uncertainty. McCain is partnering with growers to transform the way potatoes are produced using regenerative agriculture practices. The framework developed by the company is an ecosystem-based approach to farming that aims to improve resilience, yield, and quality. This is done by improving soil health, enhancing biodiversity, and reducing the impact of synthetic inputs.

“With potato yields decreasing all across Europe and more extreme climate events, regenerative agriculture is not a passing trend – it is a matter of resilience for our entire supply chain. It is our duty to build a robust de-risking package to engage our grower partners into the transition and secure our long term supply, while decarbonizing and preserving ecosystems, biodiversity, soil health,” said Leslie Camus, McCain Europe’s vice president for agriculture.

The project is supported by BNP Paribas Bank Polska, a leader in green transformation in Poland where its sustainable financing at the end of Q3 2023 amounted to PLN 8.9 billion, or 9.8% of the bank’s total loan portfolio. The lending institution has also helped a number of industries to open up to green transformation and took part in the largest transaction under the Sustainable Development Goals (SLL) linked formula on the Polish market, known as as Polsat Plus Group, worth more than PLN 10 billion.

“The cooperation between BNP Paribas and McCain will be multidimensional. Thanks to our global presence and expertise we proved our strength in cooperation with multinational corporates,” said Szymon Bielawa, director and head of North America Corporates Coverage at BNP Paribas Bank Polska. “The unique solutions allow to support banks’ clients worldwide and spread the competence on each local market. The footprint of BNP Paribas Group enables clients to reach sustainability goals globally.”

The three pillars of the program include the following:

• Technical Support
McCain, together with its independent agricultural expert, Dr. Jerzy Prochnicki, will guide and train a first group of farmers in areas such as soil life, organic matter, cover crop management, crop diversification, biodiversity enhancement. BNP Paribas Bank Polska will, together with McCain, sponsor the technical training and support of growers for a period of three years.

“Regenerative agronomic practices are the basis for restoring and further increasing soil fertility and producing high-quality food in a cost-effective way, especially for a demanding crop such as potatoes,” said Prochnicki. “Moreover, the regenerative agronomic practices will make it possible to store in soil excess carbon from the atmosphere and stop the climate catastrophe.”

• Commercial Support
McCain will offer a three-year contract on a voluntary basis for farmers willing to engage in regenerative agriculture practices, to reward and support their efforts in this transition. This will include a premium in zloty per ton of potatoes delivered coming from regenerative agriculture fields.

• Financial Support
McCain will work in partnership with BNP Paribas Bank Polska to support growers in their transition. The arrangement will provide a whole range of financial support measures to farmers joining the regenerative agriculture program, including a discounted interest loan to assist them in transitioning to regenerative farming practices.