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Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

Last post Sun, Apr 22 2012, 11:57 AM by dontdoslow. 10 replies.
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  •  Sun, Apr 22 2012, 11:57 AM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    Ok thanks everybody for lots of advice – I think we’ve gone round all the angles of this.

    Obviously it’s never something anyone would bet the farm on, but I don’t think I’ll be punting a corner of the field either!

    Maybe just as well their website seems to have any way of investing in it.

    TTFN

    • Post Points: 5
  •  Sat, Apr 21 2012, 2:20 PM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    I think that a lot comes down to personal knowledge and expertise. There's nothing wrong with investing in stamps, wines, coins or even third world farming, as long as you know enough about it.

    For example, if someone has taken the time to become knowledgeable about Wilding Definitives (stamps) and they have studied the prices well enough to have bought and sold a few items, then it would be perfectly sensible if the right opportunity came along, to invest a sum of money in that area.

    However, if some wideboy came along and starting shouting about how his Wilding Definitive Bond was the answer to everyone's investment worries, there was a minimum investment of £10k and returns were likely to exceed 500% in 3 years, then every sensible investor should run the proverbial mile, particularly if that particular wideboy had a history of making a lot of money for himself and losing a lot of money for investors.

    Wine is a good example. This was touted as the modern El Dorado a few years ago by many dodgy advisers. Recently dozens of the investment companies involved have gone out of business, losing investors money. The dodgy advisers, no doubt, held onto their substantial fees and commissions. Wine didn't work for many investors but someone with the knowledge, space and money, can still have something valuable in their cellar.

    I agree that, if someone does not have the knowledge or expertise to invest in a specialist area, there are funds that can help. The funds to go for though are those that have been around for several decades, those that are open and honest about current and past returns, and those that are regulated to an acceptable standard. Investing in fly-by-night funds has an inevitable consequence.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sat, Apr 21 2012, 8:37 AM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    That is just about the size of it

    If you have a large investment pot then yes, include some more exotic investments in the pot if you are that way inclined but, expect to lose your money
    If you need every penny then keep clear of all exotic investments - wine, stamps etc especially where you exit the investment by selling your investment back to the investment company that sold you the stuff in the first place

    I know nothing about the individual running this particular scheme but the bamboo story has been getting a lot of press lately which, in my opinion, doesn't signal good things as retail investors are usually moving in to areas after the real money is made.
    I am sure everyone connected to this offer is open and above board but the fact that some people do well at the opening stages of an investment l is no guarantee that those joining later will do.

    Ponzi schemes like madoffs - all the early investors do brilliantly only those still in when the wheels fall off lose money

    As standard investment advice, investing directly in overseas commodities as an illiquid investment is not for ordinary investors - maybe you can find an ethical fund that has exposure to the area otherwise I would stay away

    As an aside, people joining a board to provide inside knowledge of an investment scheme should raise suspicion. It could be genuine or, it might not. There are a few examples on Trustpilot etc of new joiners singing the praises of particular HK based camera sellers after some bad feedback has been left so it is always worth looking at the joining datye and number of posts
    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sat, Apr 21 2012, 8:11 AM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    I think it is important to understand that you came to this forum (which is well respected and popular for common sense and knowledgeable advice) to seek an opinion on what you should do. It seems that the collective opinon is that you should steer well clear of this project and this advice has come from 2 experienced advisors in investments and has even been backed by some quite serious negative but factual press.

    The purpose of this thread is not to seek justification for your need to want to invest in this crop but to offer a view and opinion from others who may be experienced or have an understanding of this kind of venture.

    That view has now been delivered and it does seem to be quite negative towards your plans. Nobody will insist or enforce that you follow the advice suggested but obviously there are quite serious downsides if you choose to ignore the advice and follow your own path and it fails.

    I guess my own opinion in this (and I have no knowledge or experience in this area) would be that you will either win big or lose big and that there would be 1001 other ventures that would be far more balanced in their risk whereby thism type of investment has a proven track record of failing the investor. If you are only thinking of a small investment and can stand to lose it then go for it, but understand that it is an extemely high risk profile investment at best and I would not count on it for a good return.

    The advice seems to indicate that this is not the place to put your family life savings.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sat, Apr 21 2012, 2:00 AM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    The article that I linked to makes it very very clear that Mr Wiseman was still deeply involve with running the company when it filed for bankrupcy and lost a huge amount of investors' money - money which, you are saying, had been used to purchase shares in the company from Mr Wiseman only 4 years earlier! You are not doing him any favours by raising that point.

    I do not have an axe to grind and I have never met or done business with Mr Wiseman and I probably never will. The point that I am making is that it is very misleading to describe Mr Wiseman as a suitable person to trust with investments when there are a large number of media articles which infer that he has a history of being extremely careless with other people's money. He may well be a pleasant person but he is not someone with "a proven track record of success" in business.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sat, Apr 21 2012, 12:09 AM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    I have no information on how successful he has been as a philanthropist but do know, as your comment states and my previous post, he gives a lot of his personal wealth away generously. I can however tell you from our due-diligence records and as the public records clearly show he sold control of B.U.M. Clothing in1992, after building it from $0 to $120 million in sales. This filing you posted was 4 years after he sold the company. It sounds to me like you are not really interested in the truth or have some ax to grind. Either way it is obvious you have never met or done business with Mr. Wiseman.
    • Post Points: 20
  •  Fri, Apr 20 2012, 10:29 PM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    Luchador:

    a Family Trust that invested significant amounts of money into a company run by one of it's co-founders, Troy Wiseman.

    He was also a co-founder of B.U.M. Clothing. They didn't do so well.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1996-04-19/business/fi-60258_1_bankruptcy-protection

    In 2005 he got his name in the media after raising money for orphanages in Africa. After sending $70k of donations in a year to some orphanages in Zambia, the president's wife asked to be shown round the orphanages by Mr Wiseman. The first lady was there and so was Mr Wiseman but unfortunately neither the orphanages nor the person to whom the money had been sent could be found.

    Even if Mr Wiseman were running a project that was subject to the sort of checks and regulations expected in the developed world, I'm afraid his history is not something that would prompt me to recommend investing a family trust with him.

    Predicting that "you lose all you money" sounds about right to me.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Fri, Apr 20 2012, 9:00 PM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    The downside with any investment is you lose all you money. I listened to the BBC broadcast and although I don't have any experience as an investor in the EcoPlanet Bamboo bond mentioned, I was a trustee of a Family Trust that invested significant amounts of money into a company run by one of it's co-founders, Troy Wiseman. The investment turned out to be the highest returning investment in their portfolio. Equally as impressive was the character and professionalism of Mr. Wiseman. He has a proven track record of success, over many years and multiple companies but remained humble and and is very generous individual. Any investment can turn out bad but as long as he is involved chances are it will turn out just fine.
    • Post Points: 20
  •  Thu, Apr 12 2012, 7:54 PM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    dontdoslow:

    What downsides to this investment idea?

    It's a scam. Just send your life savings to a group of strangers on the other side of the world and everything that you've dreamt about will come true.

    The "degraded land" used to be rain forest before it was cleared for such "cash crops".

    With any investment, you need a reasonable chance to check what's happening with your money. You'd be better having a vegetable patch in your back garden and giving the money that you save to an established charity.

    Remember that, in the UK, there are lots of rules and checks and codes and audits and so on. In Nicaragua there will be a man in a suit with a big smile and big promises.

    • Post Points: 5
  •  Thu, Apr 12 2012, 7:36 PM

    Re: Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    You will be mad to do this

    I have had business investments in the US, UK and in Eastern European countries. They have all needed management and supervision plus in the poorer areas of the world you need to expect you are being defrauded

    If you can find a collective fund that does this and you want to "invest" a few quid then good for you. If you are doing this as a conscience investment then I would find a charity project to support

    Ii have seen some very effective and cash generating eastern European agricultural enterprises. I didn't really see where the revenue came from but the investors did very well from them. I have a feeling the investors were getting their investments returned to them but that would be a jaundiced view :)

    Living in Florida I was amazed how many profitable pizza parlours there were out in the sticks that only opened one a month to pay out the takings

    I guess the bamboo boom is similar to the Llama boom and the ostrich boom except this time they will cut down everything to plant bamboo and sell the investors the right to buy in. They will use this money to buy more land and plant more bamboo etc etc. In my experience the people who win are those who sell the investment not the investors and by the time Joe Public gets to hear about the opportunity it is all over
    • Post Points: 5
  •  Thu, Apr 12 2012, 10:56 AM

    Investing in land in 3rd world countries - growing a sustainable cash crop

    As discussed on Radio 4

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01f5mn2/Green_Gold_The_Bamboo_Boom/

    claimed you can simultaneously:

    reclaim degraded land in 3rd world countries, and grow a sustainable cash crop.

    Looks like a sustainable environmental winner.

    Anyone had any experience of EcoPlanet Bamboo?

    What downsides to this investment idea?
    • Post Points: 50