The Financialization of Land and Agriculture: Mechanisms, Implications and Responses

22 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2017 Last revised: 21 Feb 2017

Tomaso Ferrando

Warwick University School of Law; IUC Turin

Date Written: February 13, 2017


Throughout the world, private equity funds, pension funds, special purpose vehicles and hedge funds have been increasing their investments and presence in the food chain. Along with the areas of seeds, food transformation and logistic, financial actors appear particularly interested in upstream operations, i.e. farmland and agribusinesses. This paper aims to offer a critical overview of the way in which these latter acquisitions and investments are taking place, what are their drivers and their legal and socio-economic implications. In the first three sections, the paper utilizes data and examples to present the transformation of land into a financial asset and stimulate further debate and investigation, in particular among scholars whose work deals with the competitiveness of food chains, the respect of the right to food, and the more theoretical debate between increasing production and redistribution. Finally, section IV focuses on governance challenges and presents judicial and legislative interventions that took place throughout the world with the aim to redefine patterns of investment, increase accountability or prevent the complete financialization of land.

Keywords: financialization, land, agriculture, land grabbing, corporate social responsibility, food chains

JEL Classification: K11, K22, K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Ferrando, Tomaso, The Financialization of Land and Agriculture: Mechanisms, Implications and Responses (February 13, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

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Turin, 10121

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