Plan for China to invest in agricultural business rather than buy the farm

Published on Food Crisis and the Global Land Grab, by Siobhain Ryan, August 3, 2011.

CHINESE companies could be encouraged to invest in Australian agricultural businesses instead of buying up farms under a new foreign investment model based on the practice in the mining sector.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson proposed the approach yesterday as a way of addressing public concerns over foreign ownership of farmland, while leaving the door open for investments that boosted agricultural productivity and sated the growing Chinese appetite for food imports. 

“I think that there are many ways of approaching this issue. It doesn’t mean that China, in order to attain food security, needs to own large tracts of land in Australia,” Dr Emerson said. “It doesn’t own all the minerals in Australia. The people of Australia own the minerals.”

Dr Emerson said China had bought into mining ventures and there were similar opportunities on offer with Australian agribusinesses … //

… The Chinese company COFCO said last month it had taken majority control of Tully Sugar mill in north Queensland. (full text).

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