GERMANY - Two German consultancies are to launch a study of institutional agri-business investments.

Hanover-based integrated consultancy Kommalpha has entered a strategic partnership with Zühlsdorf-based Agrifood Consulting to undertake the project.

The starting point of the study will be the assumption that agri-business is a sustainable and investable asset class for institutional investors.

Hans-Jürgen Dannheisig, chief executive at Kommalpha, said: "When they hear the term agri-investments, most people automatically think of commodities speculation or the 'fuel versus food' debate.

"However, what has been missing until now is a detailed debate that addresses the potentials of the agri-business. This is what we aim to provide with the study."
The rapid growth in population, the rising demand for energy and the impact of climate change mean that, as a growth sector, agri-business increasingly needs private investment along its value chain.

Julian Voss, chief executive at Agrifood Consulting, said: "In the agri-business value chain, there are various investment opportunities for institutional investors that go beyond the heavily criticised investment strategies of land grab and commodity speculation.

"However, there has been a lack of research of those to date. With the support of Kommalpha, we aim to bring more transparency into the sector."

The study plans to give a detailed insight into the value chain of the agri- and food-business and highlight where investment is needed and how it can be undertaken.

Kommalpha and Agrifood are particularly excited about the openness of investors towards the asset class and alternative financial instruments.
The research period begins in September, and results are expected within three months.