A few more issues are complicating the analysis: Should we include timber, water rights or aquaculture into the picture? Do the statistics capture complex ownership patterns among agricultural ventures? Do we focus on funds whose primary strategy is farmland – or do we include those with agriculture as one investment among many?
In what follows, we present a few data snapshots on developments from a global perspective, mainly drawing on the data of private agri-intelligence firm Valoral Advisors and complementing this with other data when applicable. Valoral Advisors data represents the most comprehensive information in the intelligence space, going back to the mid-2000s, when agri– finance was mainly about listed equities, commodities, and a few farmland vehicles, with very little involvement by institutional investors. This also helps decentre the existing focus on farmland, showing that finance has many entry points for penetrating the world of farming.
 Valoral Advisors (2018) Breakdown of investment funds included in Valoral Advisors’ database (by investment target, region and fund’s status: proprietary data bank). Luxembourg City: Valoral Advisors.
As the figure below shows, the world has seen a sharp increase in agricultural investments in both “mature” and “emerging” markets since at least 2005, the earliest year for which such data is available. According to the broader view on the food and agriculture asset class, the number of agricultural funds rose from 45 (with 23 farmland-focused), to 523 by the second quarter of 2018 (with 161 of these funds having direct exposure to farmland and 124 being more classic private equity plays), plus another 35 under formation. By that time some US$83 billion had been invested in food and agricultural funds or other types of institutional platforms. Although a high number, this was only about half the size of all global timber investments at that time, and a tiny fraction of the US$533 billion invested in natural resources in 2017 (this also represented a tiny 0.3% of global AUM as of 2016).