NZ Superfund looking for foreign farms

The New Zealand Superfund has already invested in farms here, now it is looking further afield:

New Zealand’s state pension fund is looking at buying overseas farmland amid growing demand for food in emerging markets, and it is also interested in assets offered by struggling European banks as well as catastrophe insurance.

Crop, dairy and livestock farming operations in North and South America, Australia and Europe are potentially attractive, Matt Whineray, general manager of investments at the NZ$21 billion ($17.5 billion) New Zealand Superannuation Fund told Reuters in an interview.

“If we go and buy a farm, we will sell a little bit of global equities and fixed income,” Whineray said, adding that the fund was looking to increase its allocation for rural farmland to 3 percent from less than 1 percent at the moment. . .

The advent of a rising middle class in many emerging economies such as China and Indonesia has prompted other pension funds around the world, including those Australia, Canada and Sweden, to increase investments in farms.

But the difficulties of directly buying land overseas and the lack of large size farmland available has proved a challenge for big institutional investors.

“Farms and forests are more difficult to buy than equities, so it provides a real challenge,” Whineray said.

But he added: “You haven’t got a big weight of institutional money in those things at the moment. That’s part of the reason that the opportunity exists.” . . .

What will the people who don’t like foreign investment in farms here think of this?

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