International investments in agricultural land can be profitable to develop the country of destination, in terms of technology transfer, employment creation, upstream and downstream connections and so on. In this way, these investments bring benefits to all. However, these benefits are not automatic: care must be taken in formulating investment contracts, and in the choosing of suitable business models.
Land investment risks turning into a real race for the hoarding of agricultural land from many states and foreign investors, and therein hides an insidious form of exploitation, that aims to establish a new form of colonialism.
What is needed is to avoid a legal framework that favors the investor rather than the host country, and to promote the rights of investors more than those of local stakeholders. This underlines the need of investment contracts that take into account the concerns of the host country.
There is therefore an urgent need to monitor the scope, nature and impact of international investment and catalog best practices in law and policy in order that both the host countries and investors have adequate information and see their rights and interests respected.
To acquire a broader understanding of land issues today, it is necessary to consider the following points below.
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