Rabobank and the United Nations are splitting the cost of the programme, which is designed to push farmers to consider more sustainable practices despite higher costs and potentially lower yields at the outset, executives for the Dutch bank said.
With the three-year programme, Rabobank plans to offer a mix of grants, loans with lower interest rates and insurance products.
"We have to incentivise farmers to change their practices," said Berry Marttin, a member of Rabobank's managing board. Marttin said the bank had done a project in Brazil to curb deforestation and encourage farmers to extend their crop rotations to boost soil productivity.
The bank did not provide a full range of specific criteria for sustainability but said that farmers are regularly measured. The bank will provide updates on the programme's progress. That could include lower ratings for high use of pesticides, for example.
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