A recent report published by the venture capital firm AgFunder finds that 2020 was a record-breaking year for investments in agricultural and food technologies (AgriFoodTech).

Investments made in the fiscal year 2020 were estimated to top US$30 billion, representing more than a 15.5 percent increase from 2019. The sector includes alternative proteins, eGrocery shopping, agricultural biotechnologies, agricultural marketplaces, supply chain infrastructure and transportation, and more.

Louisa Burwood-Taylor, head of media and research at AgFunder, explains that there were three primary drivers of this uptick: the maturing of AgriFoodTech as an industry, an increase in funding from venture capital firms and impact investors, and a growing awareness of the fragility of supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two sectors – supply chain infrastructure and transportation along with eGrocery – saw the greatest number of investments. Burwood-Taylor says that this was a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed more consumers to avoid in-person shopping. She adds that businesses are also feeling pressure to keep up with other sectors, which are steadily expanding their online presence through eCommerce in other business sectors.

The global discussion of climate change is beginning to impact the kinds of technologies being developed in the agriculture sector. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a new farm technology that is not aiming to improve the climate footprint of agriculture,” Burwood-Taylor tells Food Tank. She says that startups are developing climate-friendly innovations ranging from more sustainable pesticides and fertilizers to tools that help farmers track yields and sales more accurately.

Read the full article about investments in agriculture by Matthew Wein at Food Tank.