The deputy head of Rabobank International, Wouter Kolff, has announced that the company will invest heavily in a new financial institution to provide funds to Chile’s agricultural sector.

Rabobank, an international finance giant, first began operations in Chile six years ago through its subsidiary company, Rabobank Chile, and is now close to completing a takeover of the Empresas Iansa group’s agricultural finance subsidiary Agromas.

Rabobank already operates a similar institution in Australia, which has proved very successful despite the risks attached to investing in the agricultural sector: “There are opportunities in this area that other financial institutions have not fully exploited … because they only see the risks,” he said. Rabobank believes its specialist knowledge of the sector will gauge investments more accurately than other financial institutions.

Kolff told the Chilean daily La Segunda that the new institution would focus primarily on providing finance to large institutions and producers, and the announcement is good news for the government, which recently called for greater investment to be channeled towards the agricultural sector.

By Steve Anderson, correspondent