Kazakh President Bans Foreign Ownership Of Farmland

Via Al Jazeera, an article on a recent Kazakh presidential order banning foreign ownership of farmland:

Kazakhstan will permanently ban foreigners from owning or renting farmland in the vast Central Asian nation, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has said, ending a lengthy dispute that once prompted anti-government protests.

Kazakhstan is a major producer of grains, oilseeds and meat in the former Soviet region sandwiched between China and Russia. Five years ago its authorities decided to attract foreign investment into agriculture by opening up the farmland market.

But, unusually for the tightly controlled nation of 19 million people, the plan was met with street protests where demonstrators expressed concerns that giant neighbour China would eventually snap up all the fields and pastures.

The government then shelved the plan until this year. On Thursday, Tokayev said the foreign ownership ban would remain in place.

“The land (ownership) issue has always been very important to our people. It is a cornerstone and a sacred symbol of our statehood,” Tokayev said at a meeting with an advisory council.

“I order that the sale and leasing of agricultural land to foreigners and foreign legal entities be forbidden. This also includes legal entities with foreign shareholders.”

China is Kazakhstan’s key trade partner, creditor and investor, but its growing clout has prompted a rise in anti-Beijing sentiment among locals, which has also been fuelled by reports of a crackdown on ethnic Kazakhs in China’s Xinjiang province as part of a “de-radicalisation” campaign.

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About This Blog And Its Author
Seeds Of A Revolution is committed to defining the disruptive geopolitics of the global Farms Race.  Due to the convergence of a growing world population, increased water scarcity, and a decrease in arable land & nutrient-rich soil, a spike of international investment interest in agricultural is inevitable and apt to bring a heretofore domestic industry into a truly global realm.  Whether this transition involves global land leases or acquisitions, the fundamental need for food & the protectionist feelings this need can give rise to is highly likely to cause such transactions to move quickly into the geopolitical realm.  It is this disruptive change, and the potential for a global farms race, that Seeds Of A Revolution tracks, analyzes, and forecasts.

Educated at Yale University (Bachelor of Arts - History) and Harvard (Master in Public Policy - International Development), Monty Simus has long held a keen interest in natural resource policy and the geopolitical implications of anticipated stresses in the areas of freshwater scarcity, biodiversity reserves & parks, and farm land.  Monty has lived, worked, and traveled in more than forty countries spanning Africa, China, western Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Southeast & Central Asia, and his personal interests comprise economic development, policy, investment, technology, natural resources, and the environment, with a particular focus on globalization’s impact upon these subject areas.  Monty writes about freshwater scarcity issues at www.waterpolitics.com and frontier investment markets at www.wildcatsandblacksheep.com.