Rabobank F20: Invest in agri R&D

The bank held a ‘Food 20’ Summit ahead of the G20 leaders summit in Sydney last week.

Increased investment into agriculture research and development is necessary to meet the word’s food security needs, according to delegates at a Rabobank summit held in Sydney last week, ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane.

The bank, which has global financing and investment operations in agribusiness, warned that more investment is required in agriculture research, storage and infrastructure to meet the food needs of the global population, which will top 9 billion by 2050.

Finite land and water resources, as well as rapidly rising middle class demand in emerging markets, poses a unique challenge to the world’s food producers, said Berry Martin, executive board member at Rabobank.

Included in some of the Summit’s recommendations was the need to improve access to finance for primary production, particularly in developing regions; to address imbalances in market power; promote greater horizontal and vertical integration in food supply chains; and increase investment in government R&D to improve agricultural productivity.

Attended by 650 delegates from agribusiness multi-nationals and food producers, the conclusions from the Summit will be included in a memorandum to the 2015 G20 program, building on the 2014 G20 framework.

Rabobank has completed numerous agriculture investments since the beginning of the year, directly and through its subsidiaries. In April this year, the group completed deployment of the India Agribusiness Fund and began raising its second Eastern European farmland fund.

Rabobank also has exposure to the biotech industry through Anterra Capital which committed to the $14 million fundraise round of insecticide company, Vestaron. It also participated in agtech firm Door to Door Organic’s $25 million round through its New York venture partner, Arlon Group.