Foreign property investors to be banned from owning land in Brazil, govt confirms

Foreign real estate investors interested in buying land in Brazil could face a tightening of restricitions as the country cracks down on ownership over food security issues.

Those who have already bought land and large rural properties by creating Brazilian companies face title deeds being revoked under tough measures that are currently being drawn up, it has been confirmed.
 
Government officials have confirmed that official policy is that foreigners should not be allowed to buy agricultural land. The Agrian Development Ministry said the government wants to tighten restrictions on foreign ownership of farm lands in Latin America’s biggest country.
 
Ministry spokeswoman Denise Mantovani confirmed published remarks by Minister Guilherme Cassel, who said that the government does not want foreigners to buy agricultural land in Brazil.
 
‘We do not need foreigners to produce food in Brazil. This is the policy of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Because of food security, Brazilian lands must remain in Brazilian hands,’ the minister said.
 
Mantovani said that 10 million acres of land had been registered by foreigners as of 2008 and that between 2002 and 2008, foreigners invested $2.43 billion to buy land.
 
She also confirmed that the decision to restrict foreign ownership of land is due to rising world demand for food, water and natural resources.
 
Even although under current law large rural properties can only be purchased by Brazilian citizens or residents it is often ignored. ‘Foreigners often bypass that rule by setting up companies in Brazil, which are controlled abroad, to purchase land. This is a foreign company and this is what we want to control,’ said Mantovani.
 
‘I am not a xenophobe but our land is finite. The population grows and demands food,’ she added.
 
Mantovani said that representatives from several ministries were preparing a constitutional amendment to further restrict foreign ownership of land. And she warned that these could include the revoking of land titles already purchased by foreigners.
 
‘We are going to draw up an amendment that will make it clear that foreigners can invest in any sector except land,’ she added