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EU backs global code for farmland purchases - draft

  • Tags: EU

Reuters | Tuesday April 27, 2010

BRUSSELS, April 27 (Reuters) - European Union governments want to develop a global code of conduct for foreign investments in agricultural land in developing countries, according to a draft paper on food security seen by Reuters.

Food security concerns, driven by a sharp rise in global food prices in 2008, have prompted major importers such as China and the Gulf states to invest heavily in African farmland to secure supplies.

Campaigners have also said the 27-country EU's target to increase the use of agro-fuels in road transport has increased demand for crops and fuelled so-called "land-grabs" in developing nations.

EU nations will call for "the development and implementation of principles and a code of conduct governing sustainable large-scale investments in land", the draft paper, due to be adopted by EU foreign ministers in May, said.

Campaigners ActionAid criticised the paper for seeking to limit the code of conduct to "large-scale investments".

"What is needed is a code of conduct on all types of land investment, not just large-scale ones," ActionAid policy officer Anne-Catherine Claude said.

The European Commission asked EU governments to help develop "international principles for responsible investments in agricultural land" in developing countries in a policy paper on food security published in March.

The EU executive is "quite happy" with the response from governments contained in the draft paper, but would have liked to see concrete figures for financing some of the commitments, an official said.

Member states will "financially support national and regional agriculture and food security policies and strategies", and "scale-up EU funding for comprehensive programmes on chronic and acute malnutrition", the paper said. (Reporting by Charlie Dunmore)

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