DGC Asset Management, the UK-based asset manager, has secured £1 million in hard commitments from seven investors.
The investment vehicle, Vaccinium, will invest into two blueberry farms in Oregon, US. One of the farms is already developed and 55 acres have been planted. The other farm will begin the planting process in May next year, according to David Garner, director at DGC Asset Management.
Garner is in talks with more investors to secure the remaining £2 million of a reduced £3 million target. The firm was originally planning to raise £4 million for Vaccinium.
DGC is already planning the next project, a blueberry and hazelnut farm in Poland. “We’re estimating a £2.5 million fundraise for the Poland project,” Garner told Agri Investor. “The country is an attractive investment location with good soil, favourable labour costs and an attractive growth market for blueberries and hazelnuts.”
The proposed model is similar to the firm’s Oregon operations, which are a partnership with a local management team. “The consultants we’re looking to work with in Poland are experienced in the blueberry market and already supply two major supermarkets in the UK,” he said. “We prefer joint ventures with experienced teams who know what they’re doing,” he added.
Many investors in Vaccinium were existing retail investors with DGC that were actively looking for diversification. “That some of the investors had no experience with agriculture investment didn’t deter them from investing,” said Garner. The firm offered US and UK real estate investment vehicles previously. Vaccinium is the firm’s first agriculture vehicle.