Farming and food production functions as a cornerstone of our economy and society. The EU has some 14 million farmers with a further 4 million people working in the food sector. Together the farming and food sectors provide 7% of all jobs and generate 6% of European gross domestic product. Furthermore the agricultural sector services some 500 million consumers and they all expect a reliable supply of healthy and nutritious food at an affordable price. The economic environment is set to remain uncertain and unpredictable. Moreover, current and future challenges include global competition, economic and financial crises, climate change and rising costs of production driven by inputs such as fuel and fertilizer. In global perspective food production will have to double in order to feed a world population of 9 billion people in 2050. Farming is central and linked to many other industries. The farming industry needs machinery, buildings, fuel, fertilizers and healthcare for their livestock. Many companies operate in these ‘upstream’ sectors. Other firms operate in ‘downstream’ sectors – such as preparing, processing and packaging food. Still other enterprises are involved in food storage, transport and retailing.
The agricultural industry is massive and one of the most interconnected industries worldwide. Research innovation programs are deployed in connection with companies in the field. Growth areas are focusing on themes like seed breeding, live stock nutrition, healthcare, crop protection and fertilizers. The growth in these segments is mainly spurred by the increasing food consumption the world is faced with. It is a massive industry employing a lot of highly trained people. Interesting investment opportunities that come as projects or acquisitions are scattered across the global agricultural value chain.