A majority of agri investors anticipate investing more into the industry in 2017 than they did in 2016, according an Agri Investor poll.
As of press time, 54 of 68 respondents, or 79 percent, said their agri investments would increase in 2017, while 10 said they anticipate a decrease and just four said they would remain the same.
“This is definitely in line with what we’re seeing,” said Chrystalle Anstett, a managing director with fund placement agent Eaton Partners, in response to the results. “For a long time there was a mistaken perception that agribusiness was a niche market, but it actually represents more than 10 percent of global GDP, and it remains massively under-allocated.”
Institutional investors have targeted agriculture in recent years as attention grows on rising demand for food in the face of global population growth and increased consumption in developing countries. In addition, the industry offers portfolio diversification, with farmland representing long-term stability while newer agribusinesses are capable of delivering PE-style returns.
Anstett noted that clients have also become more interested in investments aligned with ESG principles, which agribusinesses are focusing on more than ever.
The poll data is in line with recent reports in the broader private equity community suggesting that private equity investment will tick up this year, in part due to bullish sentiment on the part of limited partners, as well as increased interest in real assets.
A survey of 240 of Blackrock’s global institutional clients, representing $8 trillion in assets, recently found that 58 percent expected to increase allocations to real assets, which includes infrastructure, commodities, timber and farmland.
Plunkett Research has estimated the size of the global food and agri market at $7.8 trillion, while Statista placed global GDP in the $74-$79 trillion range.