Colombia’s Minister of Agriculture,  Juan Camillo Restrepo calls it an exaggeration that foreigners are taking over the country with purchases of farmland.

Colombia’s executive branch will send a bill to Congress regulating foreigners’ farmland acquisitions, El Tiempo said, citing an interview with Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo.

The bill will speed US$800 million in secured deals, such as the acquisition of land for agriculture purposes by Chile’s SACI Falabella (FALAB), the Bogota based newspaper said.

Legislators argue that the usurping of land by foreignes will damage the interest of farmers and the country. A bill would limit such purchases.

The EL TIEMPO says its research shows the Brazilian company Monica Sees, the Italian oil-palm Poligrow and Refosinú, a subsidiary of Chile’s Falabella, have purchased more than 177.000 hectares – more than the area of Bogota, Colombia’s largest city.

But the Agriculature minister said that is is an exaggeration to say that they (foreigner) are taking over the country and that this kind of xenophobia has stalled in Congress more than US$800 million dollars in investment.