No nominees found buying farmland

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Bangkok Post | 11 August 2009

The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry has not found evidence to confirm claims that foreigners are using Thai nominees to buy farmland in Thailand.

"There have been claims that foreign investors have formed nominee companies to buy land in the central and northern regions to invest in rice farming," Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut said on Tuesday. But investigators had not found clear evidence of this occurring.

The law prohibits foreigners from being the sole owner of a farm, but they can run an agricultural business in the form of a joint venture in which Thai partners must hold at least 51 per cent of the shares.

The Commerce Ministry had assigned the Department of Special Investigations to look into these claims, but it was not easy to detect, the minister admitted.

Investigating officials had not found evidence of nominee companies buying or leasing large blocks of farmland, he said.

The Agriculture Ministry had asked for cooperation from the Interior Ministry to discourage farmers from selling their land, particularly in irrigated areas, because some troubled farmers may need to sell their land to cover debts.
Original source: Bangkok Post
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