France: concern after the purchase of agricultural land by Chinese

Finance
French have concerns over the amount of land the Chinese are buying

The acquisition by a Chinese company than 1,700 hectares of farmland in Indre, in the heart of French cereal basin, worried farmers and the authorities responsible for rural development.

The acquisition by a Chinese company than 1,700 hectares of farmland in Indre, in the heart of French cereal basin, worried farmers and the authorities responsible for rural development.

“A Chinese fund management based in Hong Kong last year bought three grain farms” or 1,700 hectares in the department, said Wednesday AFP the president of the FDSEA of Indre, Hervé Coupeau, confirming a information revealed by the Journal of environment.

Mr Coupeau, who stressed that the fund in question is represented by a French manager, denounced the method used.

“They will see the operator on the brink of bankruptcy and ask him how he’s debts.Then they ask that exploitation happens in Agricultural Society (SA) and redeem 98% of the shares, “he explains.

The purpose of this business today is “to acquire land to exploit,” not to put them in rent, told AFP Hyest Emmanuel, president of the National Federation of Safer (land development companies and rural establishment FNSafer), agency of the Ministry of Agriculture.

According to Le Figaro, the Chinese Fund, called Hongyang, specializes in equipment for service station according to its website.

Emmanuel Hyest is a sign of “financialisation of agriculture,” with “a fund that invests where it think it will be more profitable,” a “new and important phenomenon” in France, but which is the subject of “manoeuvres worldwide”, particularly in Africa and South Asia.

These acquisitions have several disadvantages from the perspective of the profession.

For one thing, the company paid per hectare, estimated at 4,000 euros in the department, “many more than the market price”, which implies a “real risk of destabilization,” says the president of the FNSafer that evokes a doubling compared to the actual value.

On the other hand, it allows them to pass under the radar of FNSafer because it is notified of all agricultural land that are for sale in order to exercise if necessary his right of first refusal when the project requires it, but only when they are held directly.

– A martingale –

However, a flaw was discovered there three or four years: it makes possible the sale of part of the shares held in a farming society including land.

“It is notified, but can only occur if 100% of the shares are sold,” says Hyest.

“Neither the commission structures nor the Safer not have the legal means to ensure that the proposed acquisition meets the objectives of public policies”, has moved the FNSafer, in a statement.

This is not the first time that this martingale is used, “but this is the first time foreign players, namely the Chinese, and the use of a very large area.”

The objective of this group is “the antithesis” of the mode of agriculture promoted by France, estimated FNSafer. “No installation is planned, but simply the establishment of employees; no involvement in the territories is only possible on this scale, no short circuit is considered as the production is exported, “added the FNSafer.

After the departure of farmers, these are employees who settled on the land to grow grain, and the first crop was sold to the cooperative, “once they have sufficient volume, they can go to any port only “selling grain for export, says Mr. Coupeau FDSEA.

Chinese society is now “in talks to acquire a fourth operation,” he added

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