The Brazilian government could tighten laws on foreign land ownership in response to concerns over food security and natural resources. If the proposals become law, foreign parties will no longer be allowed to own agricultural land.
Under current legislation, only Brazilian citizens or residents are able to purchase large rural properties, but these rules are largely overlooked.
Foreign investors often bypass restrictions by setting up companies in Brazil that are controlled from abroad in order to buy land, but a constitutional amendment being drafted by government ministers would put an end to this practice. Foreign parties who already own agricultural land could face having their title deeds revoked.
Felipe Calvacante, president of Brazil’s Association for Real Estate and Tourism Development, was keen to reassure foreign investors that real estate would not be affected: He said: “Brazil has very strict environmental policies and there are areas earmarked for agricultural land and BrazIl others – usually along the coast – that are designed for development.”
He went on to add that it is not certain that these plans will pass through Congress: “The proposal to restrict foreigners from buying agricultural land is just a proposal at this stage and has been the subject of much debate over the years, with many in the current government opposing it.” There has been a significant rise in demand for Brazilian land over the past decade. According to the Brazilian Agrarian Development Industry, foreigners invested $2.43bn in land between 2002 and 2008 and registered 4 million hectares of land. Whether this demand would continue under the new restrictions remains to be seen.
Mr Calvacante, however, remains positive: “Our aim, as the association responsible for real estate and tourism development, is to always ensure careful development in permitted areas with consideration for and to safeguard the long-term future of our country according to the laws that are in effect.”