A new law, suspending sale of agriculture land to foreign citizens or to entities established by foreign nationals till end of 2014, will be challenged to the Constitutional Court by the Tbilisi-based watchdog Transparency International Georgia.
The bill was confirmed by the Parliament on June 28 and went into force on July 17 after it was signed into law by President Saakashvili.
TI Georgia says that the new law contravenes article 21 of the Georgian constitution, which states that “the abrogation of the universal right to property, of the right to acquire, alienate and inherit property shall be impermissible.”
“In the nearest future TI Georgia plans to file a lawsuit to the Constitutional Court demanding cancellation of this limitation” introduced by the new law, the watchdog group said in a statement on July 19.
TI Georgia also said that the suspension of sale of agriculture land to foreigners would negatively impact investment climate in the country.
The law instructs the government to improve the land registry and elaborate “unified state policy on rational use and protection of the land resources” till December 31, 2013.
Explanatory note, which accompanied the bill, read: “As of today there is a real threat of irrational privatization of land, which may have a negative consequence on country’s economic security, environmental protection and state security and it may also significantly damage local rural population.”
There has been an increased interest in investing in Georgia’s agricultural opportunities since 2012 mostly from Indian farmers. Attracted by inexpensive and fertile land, as well as by lack of red tape, over 2,000 Indian farmers, mainly from the state of Punjab, have reportedly immigrated to Georgia over the past one year after buying agricultural land plots in the country, mainly in its eastern parts.