Foreigner

From an article in Ontario Farmer, February 19, 2013, p. 23:

Foreign land deals hurting poor Third World farmers

Foreign investment in farmland is having some devastating effects in Third World countries, says an article by Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

The article uses the example of Indian companies leasing 600,000 hectares (1.5 m acres) of prime farmland in Ethiopia. The move has led to violence, environmental destruction and the imprisonment of journalists and political objectors, a new report suggests.

The article says research by the U.S.-based Oakland Institute suggests many thousands of Ethiopians are in the process of being relocated or have fled to neighbouring countries after their traditional land has been handed to foreign investors without their consent. The situation is likely to deteriorate further as companies start to gear up their operations and the government pursues plans to lease as much as 15 per cent of the land in some regions, the report says.

At the same time, Oxfam says investors are deliberately targeting the weakest-governed countries to buy cheap land. The 23 least-developed countries in the world account for more than half of the recorded deals completed between 2000 and 2011, the agency says.

Deals involving approximately 200m ha of land are believed to have been negotiated, mostly to the advantage of speculators and often to the detriment of communities, in the last few years

In any country, the sale to non-nationals of rights in finite resources, be they rights of title or long-term lease rights, would appear to be ill-advised. Yet in Saskatchewan

Though, as noted:

“The law in Saskatchewan is clear that investment in farmland in this province (buying more than 10 acres) is restricted to citizens of Canada and permanent residents,” provincial agriculture minister Lyle Stewart told AFP.

Similarly farm corporations must be 100 percent Canadian-owned.

Still, if you don’t buy, but lease…

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About brucelarochelle

Practising Lawyer and Part-Time University Instructor (Accounting, Commercial Law, Organizational Behaviour); Part-Time Federal Tribunal Member. Non-practising Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant and Certified Management Accountant).
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One Response to Foreigner

  1. When we hear about the famine in East Africa and the millions of Africans in danger of starvation, I wonder. If all the land leased or otherwise occupied to produce food for India and China were devoted to African use, would there be famine in Africa?

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