The “Invest for Food Generations” fund by CPR-AM, an autonomous and wholly owned subsidiary of Amundi, has increased to €113 million, focusing on sustainable investment across the whole agri-food value chain from farm to fork to meet world food challenges.
In an exclusive interview with Agri Investor, Stéphane Soussan, fund manager at CPR-Asset Management, explained the vehicle invests for the long term in international equities involved in the entire agri-food value chain for companies listed on the stock exchange, ranging from primary agricultural production to restaurants. “Launched in 2017, the fund, which has an unlimited timescale, has grown to reach €113 million in just over a year, which is very good for a thematic fund,” Soussan said. “Normally, clients want to wait three years for the fund to work,” he added.
Capital raised from retail and private bank networks across the world are involved and it is proving to be “very popular,” Soussan said. “It focuses on emerging markets where rising incomes are changing consumer demands.”
The vehicle also uses a sustainable approach to investment, aiming to capitalize on megatrends such as the urbanization of food production and consumption as well as seek exposure to key growth drivers such as new trends in sustainable food production. “Rising demand for organic produce is a big driver with growth reaching 6 percent to 7 percent a year due to its lower environmental impact,” said Soussan.
With world food demand set to rise by 60 percent by 2050 and limited resources, new technologies such as precision agriculture are also targeted to enable producers to use less inputs and to help mitigate climate change. Cold storage refrigeration systems, which allow producers to cut harvest losses, are another target.
Around 30 percent of the fund is dedicated to agriculture, with projects forced to meet strict environmental criteria, stressed Soussan.
Companies targeted by the fund include Sprouts (food retail) and Wessanen (food products), which are pure players for organic food, industry insiders said. Danone is very involved in plant-based beverages following the acquisition of the US company Whitewave, they added.
The insiders said Trimble is the best example of a precision agriculture target. The company provides equipment and software that automates equipment such as tractors as well as data collection systems that enable the management of large amounts of geo-referenced information. John Deere, which is the world leading farm machinery manufacturer, is also heavily involved in precision agriculture with equipment and sensors enabling farmers to optimize seed planting as well as crop protection and fertilizer applications, they explained.