Foreign investors are seeing merit in purchasing distressed agricultural assets, new research has revealed.
According to recent statistics from PRDnationwide, New South Wale's biggest offshore primary production land investors are the UK, with land ownership totalling 613,000 hectares.
PRDnationwide NSW research manager Oded Reuveni Etzioni said Australia represents good value to foreign buyers.
Figures on foreign investment show China has the highest spend – forking out more than $189 million to purchase land in mining regions, with a smaller share of funds invested into vineyards.
Mr Reuveni Etzioni said the top owner of land in NSW in terms of dollars invested was Shenhua Watermark with total funds exceeding $158 million.
“The Chinese coal miner owns approximately 33,000 hectares in the Gannedah region, with arable land purchased over the past two years accounting for a large portion of it,” he said.
The researcher said the figures reveal the strength of foreign investment in the state.
“Foreign companies are investing not only for the monetary benefits but also to secure scarce resources,” he said.
PRDnationwide found UK’s John Swire & Sons were the largest foreign land owner in NSW – accounting for 92 per cent of the total UK holdings identified in NSW through wholly owned subsidiary Clyde Agriculture – however the company is in the process of offloading a significant part of its portfolio.
“Another UK investor in mixed farming – MHPF fund – is now in expansion mode, acquiring agricultural land across the state,” said Mr Reuveni Etzioni.