Russian investment bank VTB Capital has announced the appointment of commodities-focused investor Jim Rogers as an adviser within its agriculture division, a part of its private equity department.

It confirms Rogers started in the role this month. He will continue to be based in Singapore, travelling regularly and providing insights into global commodity markets and investment trends.

VTB Capital’s private equity division is active in commodity investment and recently launched an investment platform to capitalise on opportunities it sees in the agriculture market.

In an email to AsianInvestor, Tim Demchenko, global head of private equity and special situations at VTB Capital, says: “[Rogers] will be specially focused on emerging markets, especially Russia and the CIS region, that have high potential for further growth.”

In a statement, VTB Capital noted that Russia and the broader CIS region was taking a leading role in the export of agricultural commodities such as wheat, barley, corn and sunflower oil.

“With global food demand requiring an additional 70% of total production by 2050, the region is set to play a significant role in meeting a substantial portion of this demand and will surpass the US as the world’s largest wheat exporter by 2020,” it said.

In 2009 Rogers launched an agriculture index with Macquarie that tracks changes in the price of a basket of agricultural commodities most commonly consumed in China.

On his new role with VTB Capital, Rogers was quoted in the statement as saying: “Russia and the CIS region have all the ingredients needed to become the world’s agricultural powerhouse.”

At AsianInvestor and FinanceAsia’s Russia & CIS Investment Summit in Hong Kong this July, Russian investment executives conceded that the country’s private equity market had garnered some bad press. However, they stressed it was a reputation the nation was determined to ditch.

At the event, senior public officials and financial executives highlighted Russia’s development as an investment destination and said they were hoping to see more capital inflow from China. Photos from the event can be found here.

A month before, in June, leaders in Beijing launched a landmark deal with Russia designed to tap into private equity opportunities in both countries, as reported by AsianInvestor.

Collaborating in the venture are China’s $440 billion sovereign wealth fund CIC and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a $10 billion vehicle set up by the Russian government last year to co-invest in PE deals with international PE funds, SWFs and multinational corporations.

Rogers, who attended Yale and Oxford University, co-founded global investment partnership the Quantum Fund with George Soros. Rogers continues to manage his own portfolio and keeps busy by serving as finance professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.