While investors have long included global agribusinesses or food manufacturers in their portfolios, their interest in the mucky business of farming is increasingly focused on assets that advance two critical global goals: increasing food security and tackling climate change.
Last year, for example, the agri-food technology sector — whose innovations often contribute to more efficient and sustainable forms of food production — attracted almost $20bn in venture capital, according to AgFunder, a venture capital firm.
While this represents a 5 per cent decline from 2018 levels, pension funds and others are continuing to make large investments in agri-food companies.
“We’ve seen our sector go from nothing to very active,” says Adam Anders, managing partner at Anterra Capital, a venture capital firm focused on food and agriculture. “Whether you use PitchBook or AgFunder data, there’s definitely billions of dollars being deployed.”
Meanwhile, as Covid-19 has exposed weaknesses in global food systems, some investors are shifting their focus to food supply chains. For example, Canada’s BMO Global Asset Management says that when engaging with companies it invests in, it will now focus on sustainable food systems, including worker protection