The Lao government says it's determined to improve the lives of its people by attracting foreign money. But in a country where simply putting food on the table is a daily challenge for many, their foreign investment may hinder more than help.
Over the past few years Laos has seen a surge of foreign investment in farms and plantations from neighboring countries keen to acquire rubber, sugar, and other agricultural commodities. Under this project, noncommercial details of land concession awards will be posted on a public website to improve transparency, while the commercial terms will be kept in a confidential database for monitoring compliance.
Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies.
Once committed largely to perceived safe-haven investments in the United States, Gulf nations are now looking to send their petrodollar surpluses towards a more exotic global destination: Southeast Asian farmland.
8Natural gas exporter Qatar and Vietnam have set up a US$1 billion fund to invest in sectors including agriculture. Sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority will provide 90% of the fund's equity, Gulf Times reported, citing Phung The Long, Vietnam's Ambassador to Doha. "We have exchange ideas about setting up an animal farm for breeding cattle and lambs," The Long said.