PRIVATE LAW AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

Study LXXX – Private law and agricultural development (2009 – )
Study LXXX A – Preparation of a Legal Guide on Contract Farming (2009 – 2015)
Study LXXX B – Preparation of an International Guidance Document on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts (2016 – 2021)
Study LXXX C – Preparation of an International Guidance Document on Legal Structure of Agricultural Enterprises (2020 – )

Background presentation

Future UNIDROIT work in the field of private law and agricultural development

 

Background presentation

At its 88th session held in 2009, the Governing Council examined a memorandum prepared by the Secretariat containing a certain number of considerations as regards the possibility of UNIDROIT embarking on a new field of activity centring around the interaction between private law and economic and social development (UNIDROIT 2009 – C.D. (88) 7 Add.6). The Council agreed that UNIDROIT´s broad mandate in the field of private law gave the Institute a wide range of opportunities which would permit it to contribute to the Development Goals established by the international community, in particular in the field of agricultural investments and production. This would also permit any synergies with other inter-governmental organisations to be explored further and enable joint projects to be developed with some of them.

At its 89th session held in 2010, the Governing Council considered a document submitted by the Secretariat on “Private Law Aspects of Agricultural Finance” (UNIDROIT 2010 – C.D. (89) 7 Add. 4), which stressed in particular that little attention had been devoted to the question of “the extent to which the various fields of private law that affect investment decisions, financing and marketing mechanisms for agricultural commodities in most countries promote sustainable agricultural investment, facilitate the mobilisation of capital for rural enterprises or favour rational and efficient choices for marketing of agricultural commodities.” The Governing Council agreed that the Secretariat should pursue the preliminary research with a view to identifying the areas in which UNIDROIT could make a meaningful contribution, in particular with a view to supplementing the work conducted by other organisations. The Council decided to recommend the inclusion of aspects of the private law of agricultural finance in the Work Programme of the Institute and this recommendation was endorsed by the UNIDROIT General Assembly at its 67th session on 1 December 2010 (UNIDROIT 2010 – A.G. (67)9 rev.).

The Secretariat continued its informal consultations with the two Rome-based organisations specialised in development and/or agricultural finance – namely, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – and participated in two meetings organised by these organisations, respectively in March and April 2011. In addition, the Secretariat organised a Colloquium on “Promoting Investment in Agricultural Production: Private Law Aspects” in Rome from 8 to 10 November 2011, with a view to exploring the nature of the contribution that UNIDROIT might make to global efforts intended to face the objectives of food security, taking into account the specific mandate of the organisation and its expertise in formulating uniform private law rules, in synergy with the multilateral organisations working for agricultural development.

 


Future UNIDROIT work in the field of private law and agricultural development

Building upon the contributions made at the November 2011 Colloquium as well as on consultations with potential partner multilateral organisations, the Governing Council of UNIDROIT, at its 91st session held in Rome in May 2012, decided the following course of action as regards future subjects that may be developed in the area of private law and agricultural development:

(a) to authorise the Secretariat to proceed to the establishment of a Study Group for the preparation of an international guidance document to contract farming arrangements and to invite FAO, IFAD and other interested international Organisations to participate in its work; (b) to authorise the Secretariat to pursue – resources permitting – its consultations and preliminary work with a view to the possible preparation, in the future, of an international guidance document on land investment contracts, taking account, in particular, of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts; (c) to authorise the Secretariat to monitor – resources permitting developments at the international and national level in respect of reform and modernisation of land tenure regimes; and to take note of possible future projects in respect of the legal structure of agricultural enterprises and of an international guidance document to agricultural financing, with a decision to be taken at a later date, in light of the work which will by then have been carried out by Unidroit in the field of agriculture; (d) to mandate the Secretariat to promote – resources permitting – those Unidroit instruments in the area of finance that are of particular relevance to agricultural financing, in particular the UNIDROIT Conventions on International Financial Leasing and on International Factoring, as well as the UNIDROIT Model Law on Leasing.

Project Note – Formulating international legal guidance on contract farming. The UNIDROIT/FAO Legal Guide on Contract Farming (updated 30 April 2014)

UNIDROIT 2012 – Study 80A – Doc. 1 rev.: UNIDROIT Preparation of a Legal Guide on Contract Farming – A preliminary outline of issues (prepared by the UNIDROIT Secretariat).

UNIDROIT 2012 – Study 80A – Doc. 2: UNIDROIT Report on the First Meeting of the UNIDROIT Working Group for the preparation of a Legal Guide on Contract Farming (Rome, 28 – 31 January 2013)

UNIDROIT 2013 – Study 80A – Doc. 7: UNIDROIT Report on the Second Meeting of the UNIDROIT Working Group for the preparation of a Legal Guide on Contract Farming (Rome, 3 – 5 June 2013)

UNIDROIT 2014 – Study 80A – Doc. 16: UNIDROIT Report on the Third Meeting of the UNIDROIT Working Group for the preparation of a Legal Guide on Contract Farming (Rome, 3 – 6 March 2014)

UNIDROIT 2014 – Study 80A – Doc. 17: Future UNIDROIT/FAO Legal Guide on Contract Farming: Abstract document

UNIDROIT 2014 – Estudio 80A – Doc. 17: Próxima Guía Jurídica UNIDROIT / FAO sobre Agricultura por Contrato: Resumen (Febrero 2014)

UNIDROIT 2014 – Study 80A – Doc. 18: Contract Farming Today, The Right Equilibrium… – Workshop organized by the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) and the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law – UNIDROIT (Buenos Aires, 25 March 2014) – Report

Working Group (Fourth meeting, 9-11 October 2018)

WG4 Inf. 1 rev. 2 – Draft annotated agenda

Doc. 5  – Report

Working Group (Third meeting, 25-27 April 2018)

WG3 Inf. 1 rev. – Draft annotated agenda

Doc. 4 – Report

Working Group (Second meeting, Rome 13-15 September 2017)

WG2 Inf. 1 rev. – Draft annotated agenda

Doc. 3 – Report

Working Group (First meeting, Rome 3-5 May 2017)

Inf. 1 rev. – Draft annotated agenda

Doc. 1 rev.  – Preparation of an international instrument on agricultural land investment contracts: A preliminary outline of issues

Doc. 2             Report

As a natural follow-up from the Legal Guide on Contract Farming (finalised in 2015) and the Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts (finalised in 2020), the Legal Structure of Agricultural Enterprises (LSAE) is the most recent project of the tripartite partnership between the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The LSAE project was selected by the UNIDROIT Governing Council, at its 98th session (Rome, 8-10 May 2019) and approved by the General Assembly at its 78th session (Rome, 12 December 2019) to be developed during the 2020-2022 Work Programme, with a medium priority level.

As a first step, the Governing Council recommended that the Secretariat conduct a stocktaking exercise and feasibility analysis with respect to the legal structure for investment in agriculture activities, in order to ascertain whether UNIDROIT could make a useful contribution.