Betting on World Agriculture: US Private Equity Managers Eye Agricultural Returns

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Since the food and financial crisis started in 2007, the flow of private capital into farmland and agriculture has grown dramatically globally. While these investments have generated hopes for alleviating hunger and the effects of climate change, evidence also demonstrates that large land deals left unchecked can be detrimental to food security, local livelihoods, and the environment. 

This “land rush” involves a wide range of countries and interrelated financial actors, including development agencies, public/private companies, public/private pension funds, endowment funds, sovereign funds, high net worth individuals, private equity firms, hedge funds, and real estate managers, among others.

This report focuses on the role of private investment vehicles that advertise and manage investment opportunities in farmlands and agriculture for investors, such as institutional end investors e.g. pension funds, endowments, foundations, and high net worth individuals. This secluded and highly unregulated form of investment typically seeks to gain control of private land and farm assets, to resell them at a superior market return after an agreed period of time and/or to generate cash from rents.

 

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