INVESTORS have poured a record $7.8 billion into agriculture technology (agtech) deals so far this year, amid booming demand for climate-friendly investments, food security and productivity gains, according to researcher PitchBook.

Companies working on precision agriculture, which involves monitoring of crops for increased efficiency, got about $380 million in funding in the third quarter, while indoor farming startups got about $525 million, according to a report on Wednesday. Startups working on agricultural biotech, which include plant breeding and GM crops received most of that funding in the third quarter, with $976 million.

Farmers are facing pressure from both sides, from suppliers and governments who demand reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and the impact of climate change making weather and growing conditions more unpredictable.

“There’s been a step-change in investment opportunities in the sector, which is being driven by increased availability of new technologies which can be applicable,” said Mark Lynch, a partner at Oghma Partners, a corporate finance advisory company in London. Across the market, “the relative appetite for risk has gone up because returns are so poor,” he said.

The biggest deals included $430 million for California-based company Pivot Bio, which makes alternatives to nitrogen fertilizer, and $321 million for indoor growers Bowery Farming. — Bloomberg