Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 07/2011

Responsible agricultural investment: is there a significant role for the law to promote sustainability?

Nicolás Marcelo Perrone

May 2011

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment


The world food situation is back in the headlines as price levels surpass 2008 peaks, confirming the rising trend in food markets. Higher prices pose challenges to both food importing and exporting countries. One serious barrier to increasing food output remains the lack of necessary capital and technology in countries that have the potential to increase production rapidly. To avoid a food crisis, international organizations and several governments have increasingly turned to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) by multinational enterprises (MNEs) in agriculture. This may be an effective solution, but some obstacles stand in the way of the establishment of such projects and, more importantly, their long-term sustainability.