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Australian Sustainable Agriculture Fund posts profit, eyes expansions

The fund was launched in 2010 and backed by superannuation funds including AustralianSuper, the Australian Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund and Auscoal Super.

The Sustainable Agriculture Fund (SAF), a A$150 million ($105 million; €93 million) fund backed by major Australian superfunds, has reported a full-year profit of A$4.7 million and posted a increase in value of A$2.9 million for its landholdings.

SAF was launched in 2010, with commitments from AustralianSuper, Australian Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund, Auscoal Super and others, and owns cropping land, dairies and beef operations in New South Wales, Victoria, King Island and Tasmania.

AgCAP, the fund’s manager, confirmed that the fund will raise more capital and buy property around its current operations, Australian Financial Review reported.

“Excellent farming practices capitalising on good growing conditions and favourable commodity prices have led to the strong result,” Martin Newnham, AgCAP chief executive told the Review. “We are now very keen to grow the fund around the existing assets and get new capital. We will be looking to Australian institutions and these sorts of [financial] results will help us. The sentiment around agriculture is also strong.”

Superannuation funds amount to nearly $2 trillion of investment capital in Australia and agriculture is one of the biggest industries in the country. However, superfunds invest very little in the agri sector in Australia.

In 2014, the Canada-based Investeco, an environmental investment company, launched the Investco Sustainable Fund to invest in Canadian companies that focus on sustainable food and agriculture. The same year, Pulsar Network Capital launched a €75 million investment fund to invest in healthy and sustainable food with a hard-cap of €100 million.