Best investment option now is agriculture – consultant
Updated February 22, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos who pursue dreams of affluence and economic independence may need to look at a particular sector that has long been ignored but otherwise shows significant opportunities for prosperity.
They may not know it, but investing in the agriculture sector is perhaps the freshest and best investment option an investor can make this year, says Daniel Go, an investment consultant managing proprietary funds that trade securities with preference to stock markets.
According to Go, the agriculture sector best represents the consumer staples industry, a particular asset class that prospers even during hard economic conditions.
“As an investment option, growth possibilities in the industry are boundless with the modernization of farming techniques, improved weather forecasting technologies, including renewed interest of the private sector together with government agencies, not to mention new demands in biofuel products,” says Go.
“Countries like the US, Japan, China, and Taiwan trace their economic prosperity to agriculture. As they are highly-industrialized economies, they are also agricultural powerhouses. During a crisis, they could still feed their people with basic food staples provided by their agriculture industry,” he adds.
Globalization is also a key factor why investing in agriculture is feasible. “The agriculture playing field has changed a lot owing to globalization, where it has now leveled off, making the Philippine agriculture sector better exposed to the demands of a bigger market. Since the country is blessed with fertile land, skilled workers and a great tropical weather, we are at an advantage.”
Prof. Leonor Briones, former head of the Bureau of Treasury, says now is a good time to invest in the agriculture sector, with recession staring the Philippines in the face.
“The first priority of the country should be in food production, marketing and distribution. It has been proven time and again that agriculture is a very resilient sector, even during hard economic times,” she notes.
She says investing in an agricultural stock is very timely at this point when other sectors are quite precarious and very vulnerable to financial shocks.
Go warns, however, that not all agriculture companies make a good investment. When choosing a company to invest in, they should look at the growth potential, source/s of growth, and growth sustainability, he says.
One possible choice, he says, is AgriNurture, Inc. or ANI, leading agro-commercial company.
“The business has a streamlined operation that is not hard to understand, it has a good business (farm-to-plate) model, plus the fact that investing in a company in the agriculture asset class is healthy for the agriculture sector in particular and healthy for the country in general,” explains Go.
Briones agrees, saying: “I believe in the vision of ANI for the country’s agriculture sector, even to the point of helping make an agriculture degree more attractive by offering scholarships in order to convince the Filipino youth to become agriculturists. So it’s not just about attracting investments in order to resuscitate the sector; it’s also about improving many impoverished Filipinos’ lives and contribute to overall national economic development.”
Focusing on the business of importation, trading and fabrication of post-harvest agricultural equipment during its early years, ANI has achieved world-class stature as an agro-industrial company that provides high-quality agricultural products, engaging in the commercial distribution of the freshest home-grown fruits and vegetables to its vast network of clients like popular malls and other key trade points like hotels and other commercial establishments.
Credit to this success goes to ANI’s revolutionary “farm-to-plate” business model that ensures a steady supply of high-quality fresh and processed agricultural food products to the country. The “farm-to-plate” model is supported by full forward and backward integrations through ANI’s farming subsidiary, Best Choice Harvest, one of several under ANI’s present business structure.
Best Choice Harvest undertakes joint-venture farming, contract growing, farm/plantation leasing, and farming research and development with local farmers and landowners, particularly in fruit – and vegetable-rich areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, in order to serve the supply needs of ANI. Thus, it also gave ANI the opportunity to expand further its operations by synergizing vital business activities, from farming, packing, trading, distribution, processing, canning, all the way up to sales.
As a result, this unique concept not only increased farmer productivity but also placed ANI as the perfect catalyst for private-sector involvement in agriculture to make it a valuable instrument for national economic development and at the same time, a viable investment option for many business-minded Filipinos.
To know more about ANI, log on to www.ani.com.ph.