Victoria, Australia

Commonwealth Bank offers discounted 'green loan' for growers

A northern Victorian truss tomato producer has been offered a discounted interest rate on a $5 million bank loan to finance upgrades to reduce the farm's greenhouse gas emissions. According to spokespeople from the Commonwealth Bank, its agribusiness green loan pilot is the first of its kind in Australia.

At Katunga Fresh, truss tomatoes, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes are grown in five huge glasshouses. To grow the tomatoes during the cooler months of winter when sunlight is limited, the glasshouses need to be kept warm. As a trial last year, one of the glasshouses was fitted with more energy-efficient LED lights, resulting in a 20% improvement in tomato yield per m2, and now Katunga Fresh is embarking on a $10 million program to install LED lights and more energy-efficient gas heating systems to all of the glasshouses.

Farmers would be audited to verify the loan funds were used for the environmental projects.

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