Nov. 10, 2010 /EIN Presswire/ — Many of the seemingly unsolvable problems that that keep public policy planners awake at night –climate change, diminishing water supply, increasing world population, loss of productive agricultural land — have bankers and fund managers licking their chops here as they see new profit opportunities in the world’s growing distress.

Despite the economic recession that has caused massive unemployment and a litany of other problems for governments and individuals, the investment community is awash with money. Financial institutions and high net worth individuals have been given historic opportunities to increase their wealth through a combination of government anti-recession policies and low interest rates.

Their problem: where to place that money, since traditional avenues such as bonds, real estate and companies that depend on global consumer demand for success are all linked in what many suspect will become a deflationary spiral.

But many of the world’s problems are looking like new opportunities. That’s what drew so many bankers and fund managers here Tuesday to learn about and discuss investments in agricultural land, water resources and other non-traditional portfolio opportunities.

Already, investment funds worldwide have sunk an estimated $15 billion to $20 billion in agriculture globally, mostly in farm land. Estimates are that 50% of U.S. farm land will change hands over the next decade because those now farming those lands will retire and few young members of their families are interested in replacing them.

Water scarcity is also a hot topic here. While many U.S. lawmakers are skeptical about climate change, hard-headed investors have little doubt that climate change is real and will contribute to an already scarce water supply. An estimated 50 countries, mostly in the Middle East and Africa, are facing water shortages owing largely to population increase and climate change.

Already, one in six people on the planet do not have enough clean water to drink. By 2025, the United Nations predicts about two-thirds of the world’s population will live in areas where water is scarce.

One manager of a fund that has researched the question was asked at the agriculture investing conference whether it is possible to make money from water. His reply: “Buckets, buckets of money.”

While acknowledging the difficulty of investing in agriculture and water, industries that typically has been local and private, with complex regulatory and tax laws to navigate, most investors here seemed bullish on what they see as new multi-trillion dollar investment opportunities.

Not everyone here was thrilled with that prospect. Activists protested outside the luxury hotel where the conference was held, arguing that foreign land purchases and the globalization of land and water investment would threaten local food supplies and increase prices on local markets.

For more agriculture news, visit Agriculture Industry Today (, a agriculture media monitoring service from EIN News.