Agricultural law Country Q&A tool

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Agricultural policy

1. State whether and when your jurisdiction has joined the following:
  • The World Trade Organization.

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

  • The International Plant Protection Convention.

  • The Office International des Epizooties, also known as the World Animal Health Organization.

2. Describe the most recent national agricultural policy of your jurisdiction, in particular with respect to biotech crops and new crop growing technologies.

Acquisition of agricultural companies

3. Is the acquisition of domestic agricultural companies by foreign investors subject to special prior government approval(s)? Set out the approval procedures and the authorities involved.
4. Describe if specific legal forms (such as co-operatives) are regulated or used in the agricultural sector and whether they are open to foreign investment.
5. To what extent does competition (anti-trust) law apply to agriculture?

Acquisition of agricultural land

Sale and transfer of usage rights and ownership

6. Set out the domestic laws that apply to the acquisition of:
  • Usage rights to agricultural land.

  • Ownership of agricultural land.

7. Are there any legal restrictions on the acquisition of agricultural land (or usage rights) by a foreign (or foreign invested) party?
8. Are there any compulsory tendering or prior approval procedures required for a sale and purchase of agricultural land? Briefly describe these procedures and the approval authorities (if any).
9. Does the law and/or regulations prescribe minimum land purchase prices if the (local) government sells agricultural land?
10. Is there a maximum term applicable to the lease (or use) of agricultural land?
11. In which circumstances can the government authorities expropriate agricultural land?

Tax and financing

12. Which taxes apply with respect to the sale and transfer of land ownership (or usage rights)?
13. Does your jurisdiction have special regulated agri/green-parks and is (foreign) investment in such parks incentivised? If so, what incentives apply in general?
14. Briefly describe the procedures to mortgage/pledge agricultural land rights in order to acquire domestic financing.

Crop seed business

15. Which domestic laws and regulations regulate the crop seed industry and which domestic authorities/agencies supervise this sector?
16. State the approvals/licences that are required to engage in the following activities:
  • Import of new plant species or varieties and import of crop growing technologies.

  • Set up of R&D centres and use of test plots of new crops.

  • Crop seed production.

  • Commercial crop production.

  • Distribution of seeds or crops (wholesale/retail/e-commerce).

17. Set out the domestic labelling requirements in the crop business sector.
18. Are there any restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in this sector?
19. Summarise landmark or recent cases that have defined the law and practice in this sector.

Plant variety rights (PVR)

20. Has your jurisdiction ratified the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 1961 (UPOV Convention) and its revisions in 1972, 1978 and 1991?
21. Briefly describe the registration process for PVR in your jurisdiction.
22. Briefly describe the laws and procedures of your jurisdiction covering the protection of PVR in terms of:
  • Requirements for protection.

  • Extent of the protection.

  • Restrictions on the rights of the PVR holder.

  • Farmer's privilege.

23. Which legal actions are available to owners of PVR in the event of PVR infringements?
24. Summarise landmark or recent cases that have defined the law and practice in this sector.

Genetically modified (GM) crops

25. Has your jurisdiction ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety 2002? What is the domestic policy with respect to GM crops?
26. Describe the domestic laws regulating genetic engineering. Which authority(ies) is(are) responsible for approving GM crops. Set out the permit requirements and prohibitions as well as sanctions in the event of infringement.
27. Which safety evaluations are legally required before GM crop commercial market entry? How are GM crops regulated?
28. Describe the GM crop test plot regulations and requirements.
29. Describe pre-market approval requirements (and approval timelines) to grow, produce and sell GM food or feed. Provide details on the competent approval authorities.
30. Set out the domestic product genetically modified organism (GMO) content labelling obligations (or the absence of them) and sanctions in the event of non-compliance or inaccurate content labelling.
31. Summarise landmark or recent cases that have defined the law and practice in this sector.

Importing animals and gene patents

32. Summarise the import/export control measures for animals and genetic resources.
33. Does the law of your jurisdiction allow for patentability of livestock genes on the grounds of isolating and purifying them?
34. Which legal instruments are available to protect animal breeding know-how and a resulting animal nucleus?
35. Are there legal or practical restrictions on the introduction of new breeds/species, the breeding of certain animal species or certain breeding practices?
36. Summarise landmark or recent cases that have defined the law and practice in this sector.

Agricultural safety and product liability


37. Summarise the system of food safety standard setting, the main regulator(s) and regulations. If industry input on the standards is possible, indicate how this is conducted.


38. Set out the legal requirements to establish the liability of producers and suppliers for defective or contaminated food ingredients that cause damage, in relation to:
  • Tort.

  • Product liability.

39. Which defences are available to the producer and/or supplier to avoid liability? For instance, is market-entry prior government approval a legal defence against product liability and under which conditions?
40. Which types of damage are generally compensated by civil courts in food safety liability cases? For instance loss of value, reparation costs, loss of revenue, and personal injury. Are punitive damages available?
41. Summarise landmark or recent cases that have defined the law and practice in this sector.
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