Agrimoney.com | 23 December 2009
A fund founded by former Canadian prime minister Paul Martin has put its money behind a venture aimed at becoming the country's largest farm, aiming to farm at least 50,000 acres within its first year.
The $50m Cape Fund, which includes Mr Martin on its investment committee, has put an unspecified sum into One Earth Farms, a venture which aims to start a cutting-edge crop on aboriginal land.
One Earth, which aims "to become Canada's largest, most efficient operating farm", says it intends to operate in partnership with the aboriginal, First Nations people, bringing jobs, revenues, and training.
The investment comes amid a highly-controversial dash by investors and nations with few farming resources, such as Saudi Arabia, for land to exploit a potential rise in crop prices, or improve food security.
Many projects, such as Daewoo's attempt to secure huge tracts of Madagascar, have foundered on differences between investors and local people.
List of investors
One Earth was unveiled in March by Sprott Resource Corp, a Canada-based resource group, which said at the time it intended to attract additional investment to the $27.5m it was putting in.
Sprott on Wednesday unveiled an extra $15m in equity funding, from Cape, silo manufacturer Ag Growth and pulses giant Alliance Grain Traders.
Cape managing director Peter Forton, who will join the One Earth, said the venture's "innovative" business model would bring "significant benefits" to the aboriginal peoples, through improved agriculture and wealth generation.
Kevin Bambrough, the Sprott chief executive, said: "We look forward to One Earth Farms achieving its growth and profitability objectives."Ag Growth shares stood Can$0.31 higher at Can$34.78 in late trade in Toronto, with Sprott shares up Can$0.07 higher at Can$4.06 and Alliance Grain Traders down Can$0.15 at Can$29.35.