Domestic investment in land and agriculture is not new, but received until now little attention compared to the phenomenon of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The limited literature available in this topic indicate that domestic investors account for a significant share – sometimes even a majority – of the land area acquired for agricultural investment purposes.
Viewed more broadly and from national actors’ experience, it is known that domestic investments in agriculture are far greater than foreign direct investment in that sector. But comprehensive data is unavailable, and this is crucial for national governments, donors and other actor groups to plan development interventions and better understand the context in which they are taking place.
On 29 June 2017, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) proposed to explore the topic of domestic land investments in more detail with a range of donors, representatives from civil society, scientists and others engaged in the global land governance community. The Commission organised a workshop in Brussels to discuss what is known and unknown about the topic and how to improve the knowledge base.
Some of the questions which were addressed during the workshop included:
- How to define domestic investments? This challenge relates to the observation that many foreign investors enter into various types of partnerships with national companies as an entry point
- What are the drivers for domestic investors?
- What are the characteristics of domestic investments in agriculture?
- How to improve data quality and availability in this topic?
- What are the impacts of domestic investments, particularly on smallholders and local communities?
- There was large agreement in the workshop that it is key to better understand the dynamics of domestic investments and to develop procedures to ensure that they are “governed” in respect of the needs and rights of people, particularly of vulnerable groups.
The full report, presentations and other documents of the workshop are available below under the different tabs.