Thursday, June 05, 2008

Big investors broadening stakes in agribusiness

On the heels of increased speculation in grain markets, "A few big private investors are starting to make bolder and longer-term bets that the world’s need for food will greatly increase — by buying farmland, fertilizer, grain elevators and shipping equipment," The New York Times reports.

Brad Cole, president of Cole Partners Asset Management in Chicago, which manages hedge funds focused on natural resources, told Diana Henriques, “There is considerable interest in what we call ‘owning structure’ — like United States farmland, Argentine farmland, English farmland — wherever the profit picture is improving.”

The new investment could raise food production at a time when many countries need it. "But the long-term implications are less clear," Henriques writes. "Some traditional players in the farm economy, and others who study and shape agriculture policy, say they are concerned these newcomers will focus on profits above all else, and not share the industry’s commitment to farming through good times and bad." (Read more) For more stories in the Times' series on the food system, click here.

No comments: