Food security and sustainability: impact investing in its truest form

In 1985 Bob Geldof organised Live Aid to raise funds for the Famine in Africa. At this point, the world population stood at 4.8bln. Nearly four decades later we count 7.8bln and the UN forecasts 9.7bln by 2050.

It is now estimated that we need to produce as much food in the next 30 years as we have grown in the entire history of human agrarian settlement. Wow.

With an ever-growing population and continued global warming, food and water shortage an inevitable environmental collapse is a concern. Food security alone is a widespread issue and 2,000,000,000 people do not have regular access to a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food. This number will only increase in a world where more and more people are living in urbanised areas. Shifting to sustainable food production methods can have an immediate impact; not only reducing costs of importing food, but also improving the quality and accessibility of locally sourced produce.

Agri-Tech or smart agriculture is a hot topic. Finding high impact, quick to market solutions is not easy. One such option is vertical farming especially in urbanised areas. Vertical farming facilities provide year-round crop production and limited use of resources including imported labour, transport costs and most importantly lower water usage. Stacking grow systems allow them to expand upwards to achieve higher productivity on a smaller land area. An additional benefit is the minimising of water usage due to the hydronic growing process. This is especially true for countries and areas where water is in short supply. Vertical farming may also eliminate the need for pesticides, allowing for more organic crops to be grown. Seasonality is no longer an issue, as they can produce fruits and vegetables 365 days a year.

One of the pioneers in this field is SMARTKAS™, a Dutch Agri-Tech business which has brought together a number of key technologies include LED lighting, AI, drones and water usage to deliver a quick to market, food security business case.

Their solutions are globally deployable, conscious towards sparing water, preventing soil erosion and improving the health and well-being of the population, all in a green and sustainable way. With an initial target of five European cities for a total CAPEX of EUR25,000,000, SMARTKAS™ offers a unique opportunity for investors to benefit through a directly measurable impact investment but also from high productivity agricultural. Dr. David Meszaros, the CEO of SMARTKAS™, and one of Forbes 30 under 30 in 2021 has created an unique business model which has the very real possibility to become a global player in food security solutions. The projected acceleration in population in the near future will create extraordinary challenges as well as opportunities in answering the question how to feed so many people and how to do it sustainably? Perhaps we should reach out to Sir Bob and see if his anthemic “feed the world” message has solved any of these issues. Perhaps Dr David might offer a better solution.

For further information contact:
Anella Veebel — anella@bedfordrowcapital.com

This article was first published in the FEIFA Members’ Magazine, May 2021

Structuring and Issuance of Eurobonds. Liquidity and Asset backed. AIFMD exempt solutions for distribution of yield products. Arranger and Lead Manager.