Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Monsanto Company (MON), Syngenta AG (ADR) (SYT): Harvard Sees Opportunity in Food Demand

Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON)The head of Harvard University’s endowment recently told a Thomson Reuters sponsored conference that increased demand for food is an interesting investment theme. You can get exposure by buying Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD), and Syngenta AG (ADR) (NYSE:SYT).

A good record

According to Reuters: “Over the last two decades, Harvard’s $31 billion endowment, the nation’s largest, has delivered annualized returns of 12.5 percent…” That’s pretty impressive. So it makes sense to listen when the head of the endowment, Jane Mendillo, talks about investment themes. The food demand theme has pretty long legs.

Although developed markets are mature and food demand is relatively stable, that isn’t the case in emerging regions. Residents of these nations have often lived largely agrarian lifestyles. As industrialization has taken hold, however, that has begun to change. More and more people are moving to cities and are working in factories. And earning more money, too.

As more people shift to non-farm work, it means there are less people living off the land. This increases demand for farm products. Additionally, as a nation industrializes, the eating habits of its citizens often change. More meat tends to be consumed. Increasing wealth is a key driver of this trend.

It takes more grain to feed livestock than it takes to feed a human. So, as more meat is consumed, more grain must be grown. Add in the fact that many emerging markets still have relatively fast growing populations and it’s easy to see why seed companies have an opportunity to thrive. Three to look at are:


Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) is the industry giant and breaks its business down into two segments, Seeds and Traits and Crop Protection. The Seeds and Traits division produces seeds for such crops as corn, cotton, and soybeans. A key aspect of this business is creating seeds with desirable traits like drought resistance or increased yields. The Crop Protection business produces and sells herbicide products, notably “the world’s best-selling herbicide, Roundup.”

Seeds don’t sound like a high-tech business, but they are. The company earmarks around 10% of the top line toward research and development. Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) focuses most of its research on “new biotech traits, elite germplasm, breeding, new variety and hybrid development, and genomics research.” Basically it is looking to create seeds that do more than just grow.

The company’s top and bottom lines have been on a fairly steady upward climb since the middle of the last decade. Its dividend has been on a steadier accent, though the yield isn’t particularly impressive. The company is recovering from some pricing gaffs, but is well positioned in the agricultural industry.

Note that an antitrust review of the company’s business may leave the shares open to new- driven performance, so conservative investors may want to stay on the sidelines for now.


E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD) is much larger than just seeds, but it has been moving to grow in the area of late. Basically, it sees everything that Harvard’s Mendillo sees. So, this diversified chemicals company is a relatively safe way to gain exposure to the grain market without taking on all of the risks of a company with a singular focus.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.