The potential of sustainable agriculture

An expanding universe of sustainable agri investment offerings could produce higher yields than conventional farming techniques.

An expanding universe of sustainable agri investment offerings could produce higher yields than conventional farming techniques.

Sustainability is a big topic, and a term I hear used often in reference to various agri investment projects, from primary production to vertically integrated agribusinesses. It is also of increasing importance, alongside traceability, to consumers and investors worldwide.

By many accounts producing a sustainable agribusiness is simply good business sense; it is the means to continue production for years to come and the bi-product of this is a relatively environmentally friendly approach.

Last week I attended the Savory Institute conference in London, where livestock producers met with agronomists, biologists, investment managers and more to discuss the benefits of regenerative agriculture. It happily coincided with a series of articles Agri Investor is putting out about these methods of agricultural production, whereby improving the soil fertility, and lessening the negative impact of farming on the land, are the main objectives. It is also argued that these sustainable methods can produce higher yields than conventional farming techniques – and potentially boost investment returns.

Regenerative agriculture projects are just one example of a broader movement away from conventional farming practices – which are deemed by many as unsustainable due to the use of chemicals to promote growth – towards investment in sustainable agriculture and agribusinesses.

Another example that popped up this week was that of an Australian investment firm’s vertically integrated sugar, guar gum and livestock project in Northern Queensland, which aims to raise nearly A$2 billion in equity and debt. Run by Integrated Food and Energy Developments, the project has been designed so that each part of its operation benefits from the others in some way. For example, its guar gum and sugar production will help feed the livestock being raised. It will also process all its products on-site enabling full traceability to the consumer, which can command top dollar.

IFED’s Queensland initiative is just one sustainable project in the works. And the Savory Institute’s gathering just one industry gathering. But they highlight the agri investment market’s potential to produce increasingly innovative offerings that harvest much more than first meets the eye. And I think that makes it an exciting space to watch.

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