The Uruguayan government on Tuesday submitted a bill to the Congress, seeking to ban the purchase of land by companies with ties to foreign countries to protect food sovereignty, local media reported.
The bill, proposed and signed by President Jose Mujica, called for "the preservation and defense of the full sovereignty of the Uruguayan state, in relation to natural resources in general, and land in particular."
Noting land in Uruguay is a scarce and non-renewable resource that requires protection, the bill underscored "the importance of the agricultural sector to the Uruguayan economy, which is reflected in its direct and indirect contribution to high employment, production and exports."
Uruguay "is responsible for ensuring sovereignty and the positive impact of productive activities on the welfare of Uruguayans, protecting the strategic and security interests of the country," it said.
Noting that "some states participate through companies and investment funds in agricultural production, with the goal of providing food security to their populations," the bill aims to "have a deterrent effect on these companies and investment funds owned by foreign states...."
Agricultural goods represent some 70 percent of Uruguay's exports.
The bill is likely to get approved as the ruling Broad Front Party has a majority in both houses of the Congress.